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How To Deal With Annoying People Without Turning Into The Grinch At Christmas

Is your Christmas less festive and more festering? Then read on.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... a migraine, a plane ticket and the name of a good divorce lawyer. Sound like you?

Christmas can be hella hard work and with it comes some very trying family dynamics for many of us. If you're not dealing with the fallout from the burnt turkey, the wrong Lego being bought, or -- like Emma Thompson in Love, Actually -- discover you have a hubby buying jewellery for his mistress...

... ah, that still gets us every time... excuse us a minute...

Okay sorry... where were we? Ah yes, you may be dealing with a mum who has long lost her Christmas cheer, a brother who just wants to get drunk, siblings and cousins who can't be in the same room... you get our drift.

But there are things you can do to make Christmas a little more ho, ho, ho and a little less NOOOOOO!

According to Lysn psychologist Noosha Anzab, there are tips you can use to make the holiday period more pleasant while dealing with difficult people.

"Sometimes emotions can feel contagious, but they certainly don’t have to be. If you're faced with someone difficult during Christmas, try to avoid absorbing and taking on that person’s burden or negativity," she told 10 daily.

Whatever you do -- don’t go into a fixing frenzy, trying to find out what’s wrong with the person and spending your entire time suggesting solutions. Remember, Christmas is about celebration, love, warmth, spirituality and being merry so just try to accept the difficult person as they are and allow your day to keep running as planned."
Dealing with difficult people

And if someone is just plain grumpy and bah humbug about the festive season, how can you actually make it work with them around?

"Just remember it is in no way a reflection of you or your current mood," said Noosha. "Ask if they are okay and try to involve them in the day as naturally as possible. If they are still bah-humbug about the celebrations, establish some boundaries around self-care and your own needs."

Self-care is all about establishing boundaries and allowing yourself to have fun despite the situation you’ve been placed in!"

This goes for people who won't share the burden of Christmas, or leave their home so you have to do all the work and host the day itself, too.

"There is always someone in a family who is quite difficult to navigate around simply because they don’t like to leave their environment," said Noosha.

"This can seem selfish and frustrating. Try to have an open conversation about alternating locations each year. If there are a lot of hands in the pie, [suggest] drawing [duties] out of a hat to ensure everything is rotated fairly each year. If this doesn’t work, consider saying no to unrealistic pressures."

She's right. Just because it is Christmas and there are unspoken rules around etiquette or must-do’s in place, doesn’t mean you can’t say no. Just do it in a nice way.

"If you're finding it hard to manage the effort and pressure of making things work," said Noosha, "then an open conversation clarifying the difficulties and strains of Christmas and the inconvenience to you might be a good way to explain why you are rejecting a certain event or duty."

Dealing with the booze hound

Which brings us to the drunk brother. How do we deal with people who just get drunk and nasty?

"No one likes the loud and nasty drunk at any event, let alone during Christmas celebrations!" said Noosha. "This kind of behaviour has the potential to ruin the day and can escalate to some pretty awful situations. If you are hosting, feel free to establish some rules or limits to the alcohol consumption and what is acceptable in the presence of the whole family."

And those we'd rather hide from

And lastly, if someone is just, well, genuinely horrible to be around -- regardless of how much they drink -- is there anything you can do?

"Be empathetic and be kind," said Noosha. "If you are continuously struggling with maintaining your mood around them, it is perfectly okay to set some boundaries around what you will and will not tolerate -- distance yourself (if need be). If you find a particular person challenging to be around, try to mingle with those who you feel more comfortable with and acknowledge the little treasures of the day instead."

"There is simply no point to being overloaded with demands, stress and anxiety during such a wonderful time of the year. Try to enjoy yourself and be true to your limitations and remember -- only worry about controlling things that you can control!"

Feature image: Netflix.