The Flip Side: AKA Your Holiday/New Year Survival Guide…

As many of us head into the holidays (while, perhaps, simultaneously girding up our loins for the New Year) it’s possible that, in addition to joy and anticipation, we are feeling a little….anxious, irritable, thin-skinned…..insert your adjective-of-choice here.

With this in mind, I thought I would take a moment to remind you of the importance of considering the Flip Side.

What is the Flip Side? Well, for example, perhaps as you hang the wreath, unbox the ornaments, mull the cider, wrap the gifts (not to mention find the lost earmuffs, salt the sidewalk, and run around looking for last-minute gifts) you find your thoughts about your partner running along the lines of, “Thank goodness I’m so organized! If I weren’t on top of every detail this whole operation would go to pieces!Can’t he see that I’m at my wit’s end??)

Yes, that’s one side of the story.

The flip side of that is that one of the things you like most about your partner is his unflappability, his sense of humor, his ability to remain calm.

That’s the flip side. Yes, this time of year is stressful– but it’s just possible you manage to be stressed out every month of the year, at which times his low-key nature is a godsend.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t ask him to get all ramped up with you now but simultaneously expect to reap the benefits of his sweet nature the other 350-odd days of the year.

Here’s another example: as the year draws to a close at work, with the inevitable accompanying multitude of details,you find yourself hopping from foot to foot outside your boss’s office waiting for him (or her) to complete the 52 things that must be done before year’s end, while she (or he) blithely works their way through their iPhone address book merrily calling every business contact to wish them the best of the season, a state of affairs that has you muttering under your breath about how you absolutely, positively must get a new job in the new year.

That’s one possibility.

That said, now may also be the time to consider the Flip Side—which is that your boss’s convivial nature, wealth of contacts, and natural inclusiveness means that you often get to attend conferences, events, and meetings from which others in your position (whose boss’s, perhaps, are less filled with bonhomie) are excluded.

That’s the Flip Side. You can’t reap the benefit of his (or her) natural gregariousness from February to November and expect her (or him) to put it on hold for your year-end convenience.

So as you head into family gatherings, holiday parties and the new year, I encourage you—should you find yourself feeling the teensiest bit Grinch-y about your colleagues and loved ones—to consider the Flip Side (otherwise known as the upside) of whatever quality might be making you want to put coal in their stocking.

Frances Cole Jones

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