How To Stay In A Cabin With People You Don't Like (For An Entire Weekend!)
Leave The Weapons At Home
Yes, there are people that exist in the world that irk other people on a consistent basis. Yes, these people oftentimes do not fully grasp the magnitude of their obnoxious behaviors and yes, they therefore continue to act in ways that most normal human beings are unable to comprehend.
Now think of the most annoying person in your life....and imagine staying in a cabin with them, in the middle of the woods, for an entire weekend.
I just did this! Thank goodness for my family's most recent reunion, which provided me with enough fodder to compose this hub.
Learning The Hard Way
There was about a minute in which I truly tricked myself into believing that the people staying in my cabin wouldn't be as annoying as I remembered them to be. And in actuality, I made it about two hours before I first wanted to strike one of them in the face. What was the top coping skill that I utilized? Ignoring them.
It was easy for me to simply act as though that entire person suddenly disappeared. I busied myself with the activities taking place around me, and talked to other people. Eventually this woman walked away, and I was left in peace.
This coping strategy is utilized quite frequently in day-to-day life. I pressed its use while working in the group home, because it was sometimes effective for those children who were bullied or made fun of. It is much easier to simply turn on your heel and walk away in the opposite direction of the irritant than it is to openly engage them in a confrontation.
I also employ a skill that I refer to as "dissociation". If you find yourself engaged in conversation with a family member that you simply cannot stand, separate your consciousness from the discussion. Reply minimally, without asking questions or adding anything quality to the conversation. We as human beings are programmed to pick up on unrelated cues from the people we are interacting with- lack of interest can be conveyed through body language quite easily. Have you ever tried to engage someone in conversation or who looks bored or yawns repeatedly? Yes, this trick works.
And alas! in simply ignoring or dissociating, you look to be the bigger person. This is a quick and easy way to terminate interaction or conversation, and you can always blame your lack of interest on fatigue or some other excuse later. This would be difficult to do if you were simply rude. Learn this skill and keep it close.
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But there are also times when blatantly ignoring an annoying person is rude, especially in the company of another annoying person (double rudeness.)
Thus was the situation in which I found myself during the second night of my luxurious woodsy vacation (did I mention that my only source of entertainment for three days was the mice running back and forth in the kitchen?). I was situated between two historically distressing individuals when I was asked a random, thought-provoking question by my cousin. This question required an opinion for an answer, and I provided mine as asked. I had just about finished my sentence when the two exasperating individuals next to me were whipped into a verbal frenzy based mostly on debasing my opinion.
It is never enjoyable when a person seemingly goes out of their way to inform you that your opinion is "wrong." Due largely to the close proximity of these two women to my person, I almost lost my temper. But after thinking about it for several seconds, I decided to utilize an intervention instead- texting a friend.
It is somewhat socially acceptable to tell a friend that you are going to punch someone in the face; it is infinitely LESS socially acceptable to tell your intended victim that you are going to punch them in their face. And so this is what I did. I vented my anger and frustration to a friend, and felt better after I had done so. And, despite only having texted my friend a few messages, I was able to get up and walk away from the situation without so much as opening my mouth in my own defense.
If this seems cowardly to you, it is. At least for me. But taking into the account the surroundings and circumstances (my blissful family reunion), I decided not to deliver upon what I knew I was capable of delivering- a smack-down.
Many other interventions include taking a walk, starting a conversation with a person in another part of the room, or consuming copious amounts of alcohol (but maybe only if you're a peaceful drunk.)
Alternative Activities/Alone Time
As suggested above, there are other activities that one can participate in that could possibly provide some much-needed relief from people-induced stress. If you're out in the woods, find a trail to hike with a person with whom you get along. If you're staying out by a lake, enjoy some fishing or a canoe ride to sooth your nerves. You can also participate in activities that involve the entire group; this will allow you to socialize with other people while effectively avoiding those who may incite you to violence. And if all else fails, just take some time alone away from the others. Believe me, it helps.
No Smack Talking, Either!
Please do not make the mistake of badmouthing the person/people who has/have annoyed you to other individuals whom are also acquainted. This is a sure way to start some problems. Human beings love to gossip at the expense of other people, and your confidences will most likely be passed around within a very short period of time. If you're truly trying to share the same space with people that you do not normally get along with, refrain from talking about them behind their backs. But really, that goes for everyone, annoying or not.
Smack-talking has a really bad reputation for coming back around and biting you in painful places. It is difficult to explain away, and feelings are easily hurt in its wake. If you absolutely have to say something awful about somebody, make sure you are saying it to someone in complete confidence. It does help to relieve some of that frustration that stems from coping with a difficult family member; however, it is not always worth the confrontation or guilt that follows in its wake.
The Importance of Tolerance
Family feuding is rarely enjoyable. No matter who you are or where you're from, fighting with a member of your own family is stressful and sometimes frustrating. It is much easier to preoccupy yourself with other activities until the desire to participate in conflict dissipates.
There have been several occasions over the course of my lifetime in which I have indulged myself in a confrontation with a family member. It was short-lived and ferocious, yes, but the experience most certainly wasn't worth the headache that came soon after. Remember these tips, and use them often if you find yourself in a situation with a difficult and annoying family member.
And, no matter what, remember that you are an adult and deserving of respect from others.
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