Body Language Tips To Survive Family Holidays

family-chaosThe December countdown can take the H-O-L-L-Y out of your D-A-Y-S when you celebrate with your family. You connive strategies to cope with your family drama. Besides the old standby, ‘el vino’, to make it through the day, you imagine bursting through the door just when everyone is sitting down to dinner. Or, you fake a stomachache or another party commitment just to bolt from your family chaos. All your imagination doesn’t change the reality of the next several hours.

What if you could use body language to silently flip-the-script of the holiday chaos with your family? Imagine how calm you’ll feel if you’re finally in the driver’s seat navigating through those problem situations. You may not be able to forget the past, but you can maneuver the present by shifting gears using body language to create a more peaceful atmosphere.

Learn some body language tricks to turn the tide this holiday season.

1) “Demolishing the Monopolizer” situation: You’re talking to your mom and Aunt Jane interrupts your conversation. You look at Aunt Jane with a surprised expression, yet she continues to talk. You try to get the upper hand by talking over her. Within minutes both of your voices escalate louder and stronger vying for your mom’s attention. You notice your mom’s face grimace as she looks for an escape. How do you solve?

“Demolishing the Monopolizer” solution: Close the physical gap by invading Aunt Jane’s space by standing slightly behind her. Position yourself within 12 to 18 inches of her shoulder. You want to be close enough so that she notices the physical invasion. Hook your thumb under your chin while placing your index finger vertically across both of your lips and purse your lips slightly as if to say “shhh.” Next, tilt your head slightly away from Aunt Jane and rotate your face to look directly at her with a hard stare. Watch how quickly she’ll physically pull away, allowing you to finish your conversation. You’ll be able to demolish Aunt Jane’s monopolizing with these simple yet subtle body language moves.

2) “Put-Downer” situation: You’re sitting at the dinner table when your brother, Jack, walks up to you and smarts off about the job you didn’t get. Others at the table sense your tension and stare to see what will happen. You can’t believe Jack opened his mouth when he said he’d keep the news to himself.

“Put-Downer” solution: Before you say a word, level the playing field by physically getting up from the table and standing next to him. By standing up, you send the message that you’re a contender and you’re putting him on notice. You shift your power by looking at him at eye level. This simple moves changes the energy of the conversation.

3) “Fake It Until You Can Take It” situation: You’re dreading listening to your Cousin Charlie’s tall tales of his fishing expeditions because he exaggerates his catches. He has an uncanny way of cornering you for what feels like hours without an apparent exit. As much as you try to focus on his crazy stories, you find yourself rolling your eyes, crossing your arms or looking away which tends to hurt his feelings. You want to appear interested even though you don’t care to know the difference between a trout and a flounder. How do you solve?vel the playing field by physically getting up from the table and standing next to him. By standing up, you send the message that you’re a contender and you’re putting him on notice. You shift your power by looking at him at eye level. This simple moves changes the energy of the conversation.

“Fake It Until You Can Take It” solution: Feigning interest starts with the eyes. Imagine an upside down triangle with the base of the triangle across the eyebrow line with the tip of the nose being the tip of the triangle. While looking at Cousin Charlie adjust your focus anywhere within the upside down triangle. If you must look away, look down as it’s a natural break in eye contact. Periodically, tilt your head slightly to one side and nod. Nodding is a nonverbal sign of listening. Cousin Charlie will appreciate your attention and won’t realize that you’re planning your get-away.

With these clever body language secrets you can bring back the H-O-L-L-Y into your D-A-Y-S.

The original version of this article was published under the title: Home for the Holidaze at four hens and a rooster

2 comments
Blanca Cobb
Blanca Cobb moderator

@AmberDayHicks Glad you liked the tips to silently control your family drama during the holidays.