Bitter over unwanted holiday houseguests? 5 ways to get along
Find common ground
When your irritating in-laws, your spouse’s old college friends or other unwanted holiday houseguests come to visit, let empathy and curiosity be your guides. These may not be your favorite people, but there’s something worthwhile about every person on the planet if you look for it. With a little imagination and an open mind, chances are you can find a few shared interests and some common ground. This may be a good time to break out the Golden Rule and to treat your houseguests the way you would like to be treated.
Put them to work
Try enlisting your houseguests to give you a hand with a few holiday chores during their stay. Working toward a common goal will create a temporary bond between you, and sharing tasks with your houseguests and other family members will give all of you something to talk about besides the ways you irritate each other. And don’t worry about appearing too demanding; most people are happy to pitch in when their host asks for help.
Dilute their influence
If you know your holiday houseguests are driving you crazy, try shifting the focus by making them part of a crowd. During their stay, arrange a holiday dinner, a caroling party or some other opportunity to introduce them to some of your friends. Surrounding your annoying houseguests with people you actually enjoy will take the pressure off you and them for a few hours – and there’s a good chance your friends will find them easier to take than you do.
Live your own life
You may be your holiday houseguests’ host, but you don’t have to be their tour guide or concierge. Take a little time for yourself during their stay, either by sending them off to do something fun without you or by carving out an hour every now and then to read a book, take a walk or soak in a hot bath. By stepping away to focus on yourself and recharge your emotional batteries occasionally, you’ll be able to engage more fully with your guests the rest of the time.
Keep in mind that no visit from houseguests lasts forever—this, too, shall pass—so don’t let petty annoyances spoil your holiday. Or theirs. This is the season of peace and goodwill, after all, so put aside your grievances and focus on finding, and sharing, all the joy that the holidays can bring.