Let’s face it–some people are just harder to get along with than others. During the holidays, you may be more likely to spend time with people that are hard for you to be around, as you’re gathering with friends, family, and coworkers. If you find yourself looking ahead to an upcoming event where you’ll see someone you’d rather avoid, know that you don’t have to let that person derail your holiday spirit. Plan ahead for how you might respond to them if they tend to criticize you or hurt your feelings in some other way.

As much as possible, practice kindness toward them, even if they aren’t showing you the same courtesy. Even if kindness can’t prevent their difficult behavior, it can keep the situation from getting worse. Try not to take their difficult behavior personally. Often, when people act in hurtful ways, it’s because they are hurting themselves. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it can help you from internalizing it too much. Try to minimize your interactions with difficult people as much as you can this holiday season, but even when you can’t avoid difficult people, know that they can only take away your joy if you let them!