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8 tips to manage difficult people and situations over the holidays

8 tips to manage difficult people and situations over the holidays

Manage your emotions, disagree without attacking, and importantly, relax and breathe

Amongst all the joy and festivities of the holidays, it can also be one of the most stressful and hectic times of the year. You are likely to encounter some difficult people and/or situations this holiday season.

1. Manage your emotions

The only person who can cause you to be angry, upset, or let your emotions get the best of you is you. Be responsible for your own emotions and it will go a long way towards having a fun and rewarding holiday season. You get to choose if you want to be Santa or Scrooge.

2. Remember that they are not reacting to you

When you encounter that angry or upset holiday shopper or the upset person fighting the traffic on the way to the shopping centre, always remember that they are not reacting to you! They are solely responding to their own thoughts, opinions, stresses, and emotions. Wish them a happy holiday and brighten up their day.

3. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

Be willing to listen and look from another person’s point of view. The more someone feels heard and understood, the more willing and receptive they will be to listen and understand your point of view.

4. Disagree without attacking

It’s ok to disagree. You can disagree without attacking or making someone feel like they have done something wrong. We are all entitled to our own opinions and points of view. I think it was Mark Twain who said, “If two people have the same opinion, one of them is not necessary.”

5. Pause and detach

If you find yourself caught up in a difficult situation or conversation, it is ok to pause, detach, regain your composure and then reengage in the conversation. If necessary, you can even excuse yourself and continue it at a later date and time.

6. Be aware of what pushes your buttons

Spending time with family over the holidays is one of the easiest times to have our buttons pushed. Ever wonder why your family seems to push your buttons more easily than anyone else. It’s because they installed them. All the tips of this article can help in not letting your buttons be pushed.

7. Slow down and breathe

If it’s all beginning to be a little too much, just take a few moments to take a nice few long deep breaths. Take a few minutes and just allow yourself to come to a rest and take a little break.

8. When it’s over, it’s over

Let it go! When a conversation or situation is over, it is over. Don’t carry it around with you. It’s time to get back to enjoying your holiday break. After all, it won’t be long until the holiday season is over and you should enjoy every minute you can.

Lou Markstrom is the co-author of Unleashing the Power of IT: Bringing People, Business, and Technology Together, published by Wiley as part of its CIO series. Lou is currently the Practice Leader for IT Culture and Talent Development for DDLS.

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