Keeping The Holidays Happy: Tips For Dealing With Difficult People

[Reblog] Keeping the Holidays Happy – Tips for Dealing With Difficult People

I originally wrote this last year, but thought I’d share it again. It’s the season of parties and family gatherings, and the time of year when we often have to deal with people we might not see throughout the rest of the year. Though I hope all the people you encounter are pleasant, if they’re not, I hope you find this helpful.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” That song just keeps going through my head as I type this. For me, this IS the most wonderful time of the year. I love all the bright lights, good food, and the way that for the most part, people just seem to be a little nicer this time of year (unless you’re trying to get a parking spot at the mall, then all bets are off!) …Oh, and let’s not forget all the parties and family get-togethers.

These gatherings can be joyous occasions filled with love and peace…..until (insert name here – we probably all know that one person) comes in. Suddenly, the mood in the room changes, and we all start looking for a place to hide. It may not be that drastic, but you get the idea.

Dealing with difficult people is never a pleasant experience, but if we let it, it can ruin the party for us, and in the case of those of us who deal with fibromyalgia, if our “fight or flight” response gets stirred up, it could ruin a couple of days. We can’t guarantee that we won’t encounter any negative people during our holiday gatherings, and we certainly don’t want to miss out on all the fun, so what can we do when we run into these party poopers?

Here are a couple of tips I’ve found helpful:

  • Realize that it’s their problem, not yours. Most people who are hard to get along with are coming from a place of pain. They’re unhappy or insecure, so they (perhaps subconsciously) want everyone else to be unhappy or insecure also. The holidays may be even more stressful for them, and this can make them even more difficult.
  • Take a deep breath and count to three before you respond to them. Old advice, but it’s been around a long time for a reason — it works.
  • Treat them with respect, even when they don’t deserve it. It’s not always easy, but it says everything about your character when you’re able to take the high road.
  • Set clear boundaries. Treating others with respect doesn’t mean you allow them to treat you poorly. You have to ensure you establish what you consider acceptable behavior. If they can’t respect your boundaries, remove yourself from the situation.
  • Choose to forgive. Unforgiveness really only hurts the one who can’t forgive. The other person probably doesn’t even give their hurtful words or actions another thought so it definitely doesn’t hurt them.
  • Once the encounter is over, do what you need to do to deal with the emotions. Don’t just stuff them down; that’s how a lot of us get into trouble in the first place. I’ve found that prayer and writing are my most effective ways to do this, but whatever yours is, do it. Don’t dwell on it!

We get to choose how we react to each situation and person that we encounter. It’s not always easy to make the right choice, but if we have some tools in our toolbox ahead of time, it’s easier to pull the right one out when we need it. Just try not to use the hammer…. :o)

How do you handle interactions with difficult people? Please share your tips!




    1. Thanks so much for sharing some great tips Marie! We walk a fine line sometimes in knowing when to speak up and when to just keep our mouths closed, don’t we? I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season, sweet friend!

      1. Yes, a very fine line, where sometimes it’s easier stay tight lipped! Many happy returns Terri and Irish blessings to you for Christmas! I hope 2019 brings you interesting adventures, health and happiness, (and to your husband). Thank you for your continued encouragement and valued friendship! Xx

      2. Thank you so much Marie! Sending you those same wishes for health, happiness, and interesting adventures dear friend. I appreciate you so much!

  1. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with difficult people for a while, but if I did, these are good tips. It occurs to me, that there are moments where I am that person.

    1. Thank you V.J.! You know, I think we can all be “that person” from time to time…. I hope you guys are having a wonderful time, and that you have a joyful holiday season!

    1. Thank you so much Wendi! I’m sorry you have to deal with someone who’s difficult, but I hope this helps with that. I hope your holiday season is filled with love joy!

    1. I had to use Google Translate for this one GP…. Here’s what it said….”A plant that survives and thrives for the sole purpose of brightening up a gloomy winter scene. How lovely.” If this is what you meant, thank you!😊 If not, thank you anyway!😁 Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season my friend!

      1. Similar result with the Cambridge translate page. “A plant that survives and flourishes with the sole purpose of a bleak winter scene to cheer up. How wonderful” That is a lovely sentence and meaning behind it 🙂

  2. Great tips, especially about dealing with your feelings (because often they can get shoved away when you forgive, try to smooth things over, treat that other person with respect and kindness despite what they may have behaved like). What if these don’t work when my brother is here for Christmas? I think the notion of knowing that a difficult person will be around, ie. knowing you’ll be put into a situation with someone that can make things hard or make you feel awful, is sometimes worse than the experience itself because it’s stress and anxiety over it that can build up. xx

    1. Oh, Caz, you’re so right – we often make things worse for ourselves by stressing out over knowing we’re going to have to deal with a difficult person. Maybe you could just come across the pond for a visit while he’s there….😊 Seriously, though, I wish you all the best with this situation. Generally, when I find myself having trouble, I just remove myself from the situation temporarily, even if it’s just to go into another room and give myself a minute to regroup. I hope things go well this Christmas and that you’re actually able to enjoy yourself. I’ll be praying for a peaceful time for you and your family. Sending hugs your way precious friend!

    1. Ha ha! Thanks so much Amanda! I’m with you – let’s hope we don’t have to use them. Wishing you and yours a wonderful, stress-free holiday season!

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