It's the holidays, my very favorite time of the year!
It's the time of year where I want my entire life to turn into a Hallmark movie. In my opinion, December should be focused entirely on sledding, hot cocoa, and cookie decorating. I also think that everyone should be extra loving to each other, and maybe I somehow end up secretly being the princess of the North Pole. Is that too much to ask?!
I get it. This can be an extremely stressful time of year, and it can be hard to "feel the magic." Maybe you're facing added financial pressure, or perhaps it's just the pressure of being around some family members who you don't quite see eye to eye with. No matter how much you love the holidays, I think everyone has a few things about this time of year that they could do without.
For me, my challenge can be handling mean or cranky people. Maybe they aren't even mean, but I just know we don't mesh and that can really drain my energy.
For some reason, I have a harder time dealing with difficult people this time of year. I am not sure if it's because I have high expectations of a loving and enjoyable holiday, or if perhaps I too am a bit overextended and tired. Whatever the reason is, I just know that around this time of year, I am extra sensitive to negative people. Whether those people are family with different views or co-workers that you are POSITIVE are trying to break you. The fact that you know you need to find a way to co-exist peacefully can be stressful in itself.
This year I have vowed that I will not let other people bring my holiday spirit down. I will make my own Hallmark Christmas darn it! I just need to learn some coping skills for these situations.
Then it dawned on me. This would be an excellent blog post for our 90 days until 2020 campaign. In December, we are focusing on getting our minds ready for 2020. One thing I want to try to focus on this year is not letting other people's attitudes affect me. So, I got to researching, and these are the top tips that I am going to try to implement when it comes to handling cranky people. I hope you will find some of them helpful in your own lives.
1. Get space. You may not always be able to stay away from someone that is draining your energy, but you can get some temporary space when things are really heating up. If you find yourself in a situation where you are ready to explode, walk away. Go somewhere to gather your thoughts. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth ten times. Then ask yourself, "is fighting with this person worth it"? Will you be able to get through to them, or will it just escalate? If you think there is a chance to resolve things peacefully, try to go in calmly and discuss the issue in a level temper. Remind yourself that no problems are ever solved when emotions are high.
2. See it from their perspective. When you are really at your witts end with a person, try to see the situation from their perspective. What is going on in their life right now? Can you guess why they may be the way that they are? Maybe it won't make their behavior any better, but having compassion for their situation will make it easier for you to find common ground.
3. Be open-minded on their view of things. Sometimes you feel so sure that you are right that even trying to hear someone's opinions on a matter can feel impossible. I urge you, no matter how bat*** crazy you may think someone's belief is, hear them out. If the tables were turned, you would not like someone shutting you down. Stop, listen, and hear someone out. You may learn something. Even if you don't, you may discover where they are coming from and may be able to get through to them to change their mind.
4. Focus on their good characteristics. We are all human, and we all have our own faults. I am sure there are plenty of things about me that drive people nuts. Heck, there are things about myself that drive me nuts! All I can ever hope is that people don't dwell on those things and try to see the good things about me. When someone is really upsetting me, rather than dwell on the traits I can't stand, I am going to try to remind myself of their good characteristics.
5. Set boundaries. It is okay not to engage. Sometimes people are going to try to discuss things that you know will just not go well. It is okay for you to say no. Maybe it's just "I'd rather not discuss this" or "I don't see it that way, maybe we can talk about something else." It may be awkward for 10 seconds, but it's better than an entire evening of discomfort.
6. Be aware of your fault in the situation. Sometimes in an argument, your instinct is to tell yourself you did nothing wrong. I would venture to say that 99.9% of the time, people don't start arguments just for the heck of it, so you likely have played a part, even if it's minor. Stay accountable for the things that you maybe should or should not have said or done. Sometimes just acknowledging your fault in the situation can lead to a resolution.
7. Find your outlet. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can still feel worn out by someone. If all else fails, you need to find an outlet for your frustrations. Maybe you need to write down all of your feelings just to get them off your chest, or perhaps you just need to work your rage out on a treadmill. For me, I need to vent. Sometimes I just need to come home and tell the story to my husband and share my feelings in a safe space. I don't need him to do anything, I just need to be heard. For me, the simple act of venting can help me let my anger go. Often times by reliving the scenario, I can see my fault in the situation, or reflect on what it was that hurt so bad. Usually, this will help me figure out how to cope.
I hope these tips help. If you have any other ideas on how to deal with difficult people, we would love to hear them. Reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.