The end of the year is nearly upon us which means back to back holiday events with multiple opportunities to find yourself at odds with your relatives. Just in case you don’t always see eye to eye, here are some survival tips to keep you smiling through the holiday with your loved ones.
Step back from your identity as a sister or uncle or cousin and view each person’s communication style objectively. Don’t judge or let historical events cloud your perspective. Nearly everyone has a predominant personality style. If you can identify your relatives’ type, you will gain some insight about relating to them effectively. (Read more about the DiSC Personality Types)
The “D” Dominant types are fast paced, get ‘er done now people. Their holidays are packed with events so expect to cook, dine, watch sports, shop, recreate, and keep moving quickly. D’s also like to be in control, so you may feel like they are ordering you around or making decisions for everyone. Expect a packed agenda of holiday events.
The “I” Influence types are emotional and spontaneous. Their holiday events may be created on the fly and they don’t mind changing plans last-minute. I’s thrive on relationships so the holidays fulfill their need for frequent socializing. They may obsess about their attire or picking the best venue or selecting the right gift. Expect their schedule to change frequently.
The “S” Steadiness types like their routines and traditions. These folks enjoy the same holiday menu with the same group in the same setting, year after year. They are very good at comforting others, providing a predictable holiday events, and genuinely giving to others. Expect the S’s to resist any change in holiday traditions and feel hurt if their feelings are not considered.
The “C” Conscientious types like order and attention to details. These folks will be inquiring far ahead about your holiday plans, the food you will bring, and the exact time dinner will be served. They are masters at the details which assures a family won’t run out of milk when stores are closed. Expect to follow recipes exactly, set the table correctly, and show up at the appointed time.
So, what can you do? Well, your strategies may change a bit depending on which personality you are. Certainly, you are one of these types too so keep in mind your own preferences and habits. Here are some suggestions for everyone.
Communicating with the Dominance Types
Pick your fights carefully and avoid win/lose scenarios. D’s are the best at focusing on results and minimizing trivia. (Any brand of turkey will do. Just get cooking!) If you passionately care about a topic, speak up and don’t let D’s run over you. They respect people who stand up for themselves. Accept their fast pace and action focus. Don’t let their aloof demeanor fool you. Down deep they do really care about you.
Communicating with the Influence Types
Be willing to be flexible and spontaneous. Remember that I’s really care about people. Their emotions are tied to everything they do. They may be late, but they spent the most time selecting the perfect gift or stellar appetizer. I’s are the best at accepting everyone, finding what is right about other people, being spontaneous, and making social (and family) situations tolerable, if not fun. Plus they entertain everyone with humorous stories and jokes.
Communicating with the Steadiness Type
Remember how much S’s really care about you. They prepare your favorite food item, worry about making you a comfortable visitor, and fuss endlessly. Their casual, relaxed style means it doesn’t matter if you burned the rolls or showed up late. Be a helper and contribute whatever you can. Be appreciative. Accept the Steadiness folks for their genuineness and determination to please others. Just don’t offend them!
Communicating with the Conscientiousness Type
Keep in mind that any job worth doing is worth doing right, from the C’s point of view. Being attentive to details will take you far with these folks. Their demands for advance and detailed communications keep the holidays on target. Don’t be overwhelmed by their structure and order. If logic suggests a better path forward, just say so. (“This brand of turkey is on sale. Let’s buy it!)Remember to thank them for the small details and follow traditional protocol.
Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving and Christmas with your family!
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