Dealing with Difficult Relatives: Humor or Zen?

Many of you know I generally focus on people skills for the workplace and professional success. After reminiscing with old friends, I captured these thoughts about people skills for dealing with difficult relatives.  Regardless of the occasion — the holidays, weddings, reunions, or everyday life — a pattern quickly emerged on dealing with these relatives.

Two Themes

    Knowing when to overlook the weird shenanigans of the difficult relatives — any time you truly don’t care about what they say/do

    AND all the other times

    How to deal with difficult relatives without losing your kool, your values, or your sense of self.

Dealing with Difficult Relatives Image by:Justinsanity

Go for:



Zen State

Humor. A relative known for always asking intrusive questions was stymied and stalled in her tracks when her target replied: “The television network made me sign a non-disclosure agreement for my upcoming reality show.” The nosey relative went around asking others at the party what they knew about it! The target was off the hook and smiled with humorous glee watching the rest of the day unfold.

Zen State. If humor isn’t your thing, a zen-like approach keeps your kool, your values, and your happiness in balance. A story illustrates:

    During a summer holiday, a visiting nudge of a relative was hot. The AC was on and the overhead Casablanca type fans were going. Suddenly the nudge announced “All your fans are going the wrong way!”

    BAM — a declaration of right/wrong. The host, thinking quickly, decided not to take the bait of right/wrong. She simply replied to the nudge, “You would like this fan to go the other way?” The nudge stared at her. The host flipped the switch which reversed the fan’s direction and then went on with her day.

Achieve a zen state by refusing the extremes that others create. Balance is in your grasp – don’t lose it. Even when you strongly disagree with relatives, you can always agree to disagree and you are back to a zen state in your own life.

I would be pleased to read your success stories or questions in the comments field below. What else do you suggest to deal with difficult relatives?

2 Responses to “Dealing with Difficult Relatives: Humor or Zen?”

  1. Mary Beth says:

    Great info Kate! Thanks for “branching” your people skills into the holiday family arena. MB

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest