I recently did an interview with Woman's World about preparing for the holidays, (read "Relatives!"). I reviewed some of the many interviews we conducted when writing the Dealing With Relatives book. Over the next few weeks I will share some of my favorites so you can be prepared. The first is called "The Rules of Non-Engagement".  There are three phases, before, during and after. In today's blog we will look at the "before" phase.


- Prepare yourself

A mantra to maintain perspective:

A good friend of mine, just before ringing the doorbell turns to his wife and says, "Just visiting."

A couple of sisters prevent being pulled into their Mom's inane conversations with the mantra, "She's just making conversation."

Someone else told me they put a Red dot on watch on the hour they are leaving. To maintain perspective he just has to glance at his watch.

- Seek allies, other family members who are supportive and plan together.

Make contact with other family members with whom you have a good relationship and set up signals to help each other bail from a conversation or distract.

- Mentally practice what you will do with tough conversations or criticism.

Here is my advice.

1. Acknowledge some positive intent.

2. Be clear about your intent

3. Schedule.

i.e.: "I appreciate your openness in sharing the intimate details of your new love, however this might not be the place with the kids. Let's talk about it later."


1. Acknowledge positive intent

2. Change the subject

Statement: "Looks like you put on a little weight since last year."

1. "Thank you for caring about my well being." (then change subject).

Tune in tomorrow for more and check out the resources at: DealingWithRelatives.com