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Foolproof Ways To Avoid Holiday Stress Over Family Drama

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girl annoyed at family during holidays
Times like these can really put your patience to the test.
Holiday dinners can be like the hunger games; you never know when your family is going to strike.

The holidays are a time of togetherness but, for those of us who have annoying relatives, that’s not always a good thing. No matter how Rockwellian your intentions are this are, Aunt Lisa will still pepper you with grating questions, cousin Ronnie will reliably show up an hour and a half late and your sister-in-law will, as ever, gripe about everything in sight. We consulted books from experts on how to cope with challenging kin. They all agreed: Preparation for their quirks is key. "It's like preparing for a debate," says Jeremy Greenberg, author of Relative Discomfort: The Family Survival Guide. "If you have a game plan ahead of time, it gives you some confidence going into the battle."

So, prep for some of the most frustrating family situations with these tips from the pros.

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The complainer
Annoying trait: Nothing is ever right, and you’ll always hear about it.
Remedy: "Don't drain yourself by trying to get them to look on the bright side," says Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. "Just acknowledge that you heard what they said and then try to move on." Kerry Patterson, co-author of Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High, suggests redirecting the conversation. "Change the topic and talk about something positive. Everyone will get it and you give them a shot across the bow without being too direct."

The quizmaster
Annoying trait: This nosy Nellie asks too many personal questions.
Remedy: Dr. Leonard Felder, author of When Difficult Relatives Happen To Good People endorses calm, firm evasiveness. "Answer calmly and enthusiastically. If you aren't rattled or negotiable on these questions, the nosy Nellie will move on." Greenberg suggests bringing up the touchy topic yourself: "Beat the person to the punch by initiating and completing a conversation that doesn't allow that person to control it."

Check out these rad tips of how to avoid family drama at Bookish: How To Deal With Annoying Relatives Over The Holidays

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Originally written by Kathleen Squires for Bookish

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