Friday, October 12, 2012

Family and Friends - Holidays Edition

I haven't been around long enough to give any sort of wise advice about the matter but since i do have a few of both i think it qualifies me to have my own opinion based on my own experiences.

We can all agree that no one and nothing is perfect in this world as a general rule, so it's safe to assume the same equation applies to family and to friends. Both have good sides and bad sides (or really bad sides, depending on your experience). Tempers specially flare around holidays. We've all seen the holiday greeting cards, happy smiley faces around a nicely baked Turkey but let's face it for a lot of us that's not how family gatherings go down. Without getting into gruesome details most of us end up making compromises and ride it out hoping next year will be better.

But as we grow older we start really appreciating what family and friends are all about. I'm sure the older generation goes through it right now and we will get there soon but the hard reality is that year after year there will be less and less people around the dinner table.Older family members will not be around forever, relatives relocate, kids move away and one day we realize holidays are days we rather sleep through than be alone in front of the TV thinking of past days long gone. Even though family can be frustrating sometimes, family can provide a sense of stability, belonging and unconditional love.

Friends give a different type of comfort. Often our friends are people we choose because we are either close in age, share interests and hobbies or have same affiliations and ideals. Friends sometimes have better understanding of our situations because most often than not friends are our peers sharing social and financial experiences. Friends are not perfect either, friends can behave rudely, be inconsiderate and be plain mean some days. The thing with friends is we are under the false impression that without family ties we can freely get friends out of our lives but we soon realize it gets a little complicated when you know a lot of people in common.

This is just a personal observation sometimes it seems people are often less tolerant towards family members than friends. We let it slide when friends say something rude about someone we know but we immediately get into a heated argument with our spouse if they simply can't make up their mind on what they want to eat. I'm not going to even try to understand why that happens!

As the Holidays approach let's keep a few things in mind so we can maintain a good relationship with both our families and friends.

Stay In Touch: More than just the yearly Christmas card. A phone call every now and then, an email or a hi on facebook will do.

Let Things Go: Believe me there's so much more to life than silly arguments and misunderstandings. Talk about it then let it go. Be respectful of other people's feelings and accept the fact that we are not always right.

Let's not Be Perfectionists: If no one and nothing is perfect it means WE are not perfect either. Look beyond the surface, a lot of people have great qualities let's not focus on the negatives.

Toughen Up: We all need to get some thick skin to go with our lifestyle. If someone is occasionally rude, brush it off, remember, no one is perfect.

I'm sure there are a lot of more things we should keep in mind around the Holidays but i think these few simple guidelines should make for smoother encounters.

There’s no doubt that relationships, whether with family or friends, can be very difficult – for the other person as well as for you. But it’s worth making the effort. Both family and friends can give you one of life’s most wonderful qualities: the feeling of loving, and being loved in return.

Disclaimer: PLEASE keep in mind these guidelines only work for relatively rational family members and friends. If you feel your life is in danger please call 911 :)

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