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How To Negotiate With Your Family During The Holidays

Ever notice that when you get together with your family for the holidays that the same arguments and resentments bubble up through the good cheer year after year. Despite your best efforts not to let your siblings' comments bother you, you end up playing the same role in your family that you had in junior high. Here are some tips for getting along with your family this holiday season and being a grownup.

1.Concentrate on having a great holiday and don't get distracted by your emotions. During this stressful holiday season, it is important to check your emotions at the door. Emotions such as anger or resentments lead to lack of control. You need to get past this stage if you are going to have a happy holiday.

If you are the one who is angry or upset, you need to concentrate on what you what to accomplish (such as no scenes or confrontations) and not let anything stand in your way. It does not matter if you don't like a member of your family. Even if someone is rude, insulting or even baiting you, don't give him or her the satisfaction that he or she has gotten to you. 2. Look Forward Not Back. The Past Is Called The Past For A Reason.

Don't try to settle old scores during the holidays. Remember your goal is to get through the holidays without any flare-ups. Even if one of your siblings did something to you in the past that still makes you mad, get beyond that and try to live in the moment and be happy. No matter how sophisticated and worldly we have become, somehow those same roles we had in high school show through and the same old pecking order manifests itself. In this situation, déjà vu is not a good thing.

3. Be Willing To apologize. If you are estranged from a relative, maybe this is the year you will make the first move to reconcile.

Be prepared to shoulder some of the blame even if you don't remember what the original argument was. Don't say, "I did not do anything wrong." or "It is against my principles to apologize!" That is beside the point. When considering whether to make the first move, keep in mind that people do make mistakes.

Also consider that your first move may be rejected and don't be upset by that. At least you know that you made the effort and tried to take the high ground. A sincere apology, and I mean sincere, can go a long way. 4.

Beware And Be Aware. Be aware and don't let your guard down. Even if you think the holidays are going smoothly, don't be lulled into complacency.

Be careful what you say and how you say it. One well-placed comment or zinger by you or someone else can spoil the whole holiday mood. Be alert to others' feelings. It is only a couple of days and you can get through it.

5.Be Thankful. Be thankful for being able to share the holidays with your family. Remember that some of them may not be around next year or the year after and those very maddening habits you dislike now, you might even miss when they are gone.

Try to remember all the good things and accentuate the positive. As my mother says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say something at all." Try saying something nice and see where it takes you. Happy Holidays.

Mary Greenwood, J.D., LL.M, Arbitrator, Mediator, Author of How to Negotiate like a Pro, 41 Rules for Resolving Disputes Available at http://www.barnesandnoble.com or http://www.amazon.com or Visit http://www.Marygreenwood.com DIY Award Best "How To" Book 2006

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