Just days out from Christmas, and psychologists have dished up some tips on making it through the silly season tension-free.
Sian Khuman, a consultant psychologist for the therapeutic services at Relationships Australia, says almost every Australian, in every family, will have to spend at least part of the next few days with one or two people they simply struggle to get on with.
Sian says the number one piece of advice is to grin and bear it, at least for Christmas Day.
"We always say, in therapy, that to discuss really important topics you should strike while the iron's cold.. as in, strike while the tension is low", she says.
"Christmas is not the time to bring out those tensions and discuss them. If there is tension that does need to be discussed, it's better to do it at a different time, because everyone expects Christmas to be a joyous day and there's a lot of anxiety with actually making it a good day and so people are probably a little bit more on edge and so it's not the day to bring up those tensions".
She says each of us can take a couple of simple steps to make sure things don't boil over into what could become a regretful situation.
- LIMIT BOOZE
"Just to be mindful about how much you drink, if you do drink, because alcohol always leads to people being a little bit more liberal and it can also lead to people being more aggressive. Take care of yourself, especially if it's a hot day as well because people get more dehydrated drinking on hot days"
- CHOOSE WISELY
"If you can, choose to sit next to someone that you do like, if you can so you don't need to have in depth conversations with people that you don't get on with"
- PICK THE TIME AND PLACE
"If you think it's going to lead to a big blow up then it's better to ignore it and speak about it at a later time, when you'll say 'Look, at Christmas when you said that, it was really inappropriate'"
"You can still speak assertively and say things like 'Maybe let's talk about something else' or 'Hey, that doesn't really fit with me', but if that doesn't feel safe to do then I really would recommend ignoring.. moving to a different place sitting.. or going and talking to someone else"
- ACCEPT AND ACKNOWLEDGE
"Everyone will have different relationships with different people. It's not good to assume that we need to have a good relationship with everyone. I think we always should think about 'How do I come to a relationship?', 'Do I come with a sense of real compassion, generosity, authenticity and integrity in my relationships?'"