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Have a relative you’re not looking forward to hanging out with this Thursday? You’re not alone. Maybe you even love that person, but his/her likely behavior when the family gathers, is intolerable to you.

Here’s a few things you can do to make things better:

1. If Old Uncle What’s-His-Name starts in with the “My way is the right way routine… the one you’ve heard a thousand times… consider the source.

You think he’s a nice enough guy in so many ways. So, forget fighting the point even when the words burn in your mouth. Instead, think to yourself: “I will not provoke… I will not be provoked.

No imput may just cut off his tirade.

After he quiets down, smile at him, with your hand on his shoulder, and add, “There is one thing we’ll always agree about… that we’re never going to agree.”

Then, change the topic and pass the potatoes.

2. Are you also turned off by the relative who sees the clan gathering as a time to brag. … it seems… about everything?

Even if you’re proud of your own new commitment to the gym, when your cousin regales you with stories of running his fifth marathon this year, you pale. Then, when he brags about his new boat or about his new promotion at work, you have all you can do to not scream.

How to keep your cool? Take a moment to re-think, for starters. Maybe the guy is over-compensating for his own real short-comings. Perhaps he’s going through a tough time and this is his way of coping. You could give him a bye.

“No way,” you say. Okay. Try a self-deprecating response. “Listening to you makes me feel like the turkey. I wish I had your motivation.” Or, “I hope you won’t refer to me as your poor relation.”

Nobody likes to be thought about as a braggart. If he doesn’t change his tune, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve been wise enough to respond correctly.

Now, turkeys aside, change your own thoughts to those others around you and for all the reasons you have to be grateful. Take time to give thanks to those on whose shoulders you stand.

Be thankful for life, health and for the ability to do the things you can do.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for love… and family, even if they aren’t perfect.

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