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However, there are ways you can keep a family festival from turning into a family feud. Keep your expectations realistic.
1. Plan ahead and bring what you need. Know whom you will get along with and stay away from sure-fire explosive subjects.
2. Visit for a reasonable time. One meal can often be magic. After three days people tend to get on each other's nerves.
3. Help out and be part of team. But remember, host and/or hostess are ultimately boss. Their ways may not be your ways, but as adage goes: “When in Rome do as Romans do.”
4. If you have special dietary needs such as no sugar or vegetarian only, let your host or hostess know in advance. It can hurt someone's feelings if they have cooked for days only to find you won't touch their food.
5. Stay away from Uncle Joe, or keep to small talk.
6. Remember a large family gathering is not time to resolve unresolved personal issues.
7. If you must say something negative, try to speak to individual alone.
8. Go with best of intentions and good will and keep those intentions and good will.
9. Be ready to forgive. After all, that really is meaning of this special time of year.
10. Help with children. They are future and they should make you smile. Life is too hard to do alone,
Life is too hard to do alone,
Dorree Lynn, PH.D.
Dr. Dorree Lynn is co-founder of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and a practicing clinician in New York and Washington, DC. Dr. Lynn served on the executive board of the American Academy of Psychotherapists and she is on the editorial board of their publication, Voices. She is also a regular columnist for the Washington, DC newspaper, The Georgetowner. Dr. Lynn is a noted speaker and well known on the lecture circuit.