I’m dreading being with people who hate Christmas – what can I do?
Christmas means different things to different people. For one person it might be time spent with family while for someone else it might be time away from colleagues or customers. It’s healthy for different people to enjoy different aspects. What makes for difficulties though is when we assume that we both mean the same thing.
For instance if someone says that they “hate Christmas” it’s very easy to assume that what they mean by Christmas is the same idea that you have. That might make it difficult for you to understand – why could someone not enjoy seeing old friends, or taking the time to rest and recuperate?
“People who hate Christmas” is in fact an example of what NLP Practitioners would call a ‘generalisation’. “Christmas” covers a multitude of different things and ideas – from religion to commercialisation, or from indulgence to charity.
When someone says that they “hate Christmas” you need to take the time to find out what aspect it is that they hate.
- Do they feel obliged to fit in with other peoples’ plans and never their own?
- Do they hate having to meet new people socially?
- Are they lonely, or are they facing Christmas after the loss of a loved one?
- Do they hate the expense of Christmas?
- Do they associate Christmas with being ill, or with post-Christmas low mood?
You’ll understand them better by finding out in particular what it is they don’t like. You’ll be able to stop thinking of them as some sort of Grinch or Scrooge. Even more importantly you’ll be able to get them to think about the aspects they do like. Remember that there are hundreds of different aspects to ‘Christmas’ and it would be a thankfully rare person who genuinely hated them all.
Finally, whatever it is that they dislike, don’t attempt to educate them or change their mind. Concentrate instead on the aspects that they do enjoy, especially if you share that with them. You’ll likely have more in common with them than thinking of them as “people who hate Christmas” lets you realise.