10 Guaranteed Ways to Ruin a Family Reunion

Let the Button-pushers Push Your Buttons
Do you have a relative who always seems to be spoiling for a fight? You’re not alone. The key is to prepare for confrontations ahead of time. ©iStockphoto.com/pepifoto

How does that saying go? You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to. Probably good advice for family reunion attendees.

We all have our buttons, and we all know at least one person who knows just how to push them to elicit the worst in us. Whether it's questions about life decisions or passive jabs aimed at destroying confidence, the very idea of these social interchanges makes you feel anxious, and your body releases a hormone called cortisol, the flight or fight hormone. But instead of anticipating how you'll panic or lash out, anticipate how you wish you could react when being confronted by the button pushers. Mental health professionals recommend role playing different scenarios and practicing your reactions, rehearsing how you'd like to respond to certain situations and setting boundaries before you go to the reunion. The theory is that instead of allowing your anxiety and insecurities get the better of you, you instead stack the odds in your favor ahead of time.