Handling Holiday Personalities

Earlier this week, I had the privilege to meet the fun and energetic, Vasavi Kumar, a self-described, “happy wife, self-discovery junkie, lover of all things non-conformity, and freedom strategist.”  She has a regular segment on a local morning show, “KC Live.”

Vasavi Kumar

In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, her piece this week was centered on advice for dealing with certain personality types during Thanksgiving dinner and beyond.  Though she was focused on handling family members who demonstrate these six behaviors, seems we may encounter people like this in any interaction.

Here’s what she had to say:

  1. The “In Your Face.”  This is the individual with no spatial awareness, no personal boundaries.  He/she is a close talker who has a tendency to get right up in your face.  As enjoyable as the conversation might be, we all need a little personal space.  Vasavi recommends creating some personal space by holding a coffee cup or other object with both hands a comfortable elbow’s length in front of you.
  2. The “Chatty Cathy.”  This person just keep talking and talking and talking and talking.  Vasavi suggests always having a solid exit strategy.  That is, a way to exit the conversation such as, “Excuse me, I am going to use the bathroom,” or “Pardon me, but I need to make a quick phone call,” or even “I am going to check something in the kitchen.”
  3. The “Shoulder Massager.”  This is the person who feels compelled to walk right up to others and start rubbing their shoulders or takes the liberty to put his/her hand on your knee.  Assuming the touching is unwelcomed, gently take his/her hand, hold it for a moment and give it back to him/her.  Then you can continue your conversation having established a little personal space.
  4. The “All About Me.”  This guy or gal simply loves to talk about him/herself… all the time!  Talking with these individuals can get exhausting.  In these situations, Vasavi stays silent.  She allows them to ramble for a bit.  Eventually, they will exhaust themselves and move on to others with whom to share all of their good news!
  5. The “Negative Ned.”  Wah, wah, wah.  This person never finds the silver lining – ever!  If you encounter this downer of a person, Vasavi tells us to twist the conversation into a positive.  For instance, you might ask what is most exciting to him/her right now or what opportunity he/she is most looking forward to in the next few weeks.  Do what you can to turn that frown upside down!
  6. The “Bully.”  This person is always on the offensive and ready for a fight!  If you are feeling picked on by the Bully in the room, call him/her out on their rudeness without being rude yourself by asking, “Hmmm?  Well, what did you mean by that?”  Chances are he/she will drop their dukes and chill out a bit.

Vasavi’s tips brought a smile to my face… and even a little self-awareness to my mind!  Hope you enjoy them, too.

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