Are You a Grinch? Take a Quiz and Find Out!

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grinch_picAre you a Grinch? Results of this popular Social Skills Test provide helpful suggestions on how to deal with some of the less jolly people during Christmas.

Your house looks great. The meal is nearly done, you look snazzy, and as the doorbell rings, you head to the door with an optimistic bounce in your step. As the first family members start to pour in, you get that warm, fuzzy feeling that this year, things will go well. Just as that thought crosses your mind, the Grinch in you giggles evilly, and says, “Just you wait.” And with that comes your mother, who sweeps her critical gaze across your living room, grimacing at your decor. Within the first five minutes of her arrival, she comments on that “strange, awful” smell coming from your kitchen, your outfit, and suggests that you skip her dessert this year because, judging from that pudgy belly, you’ve already had your share. “Zing!”, the Grinch in you says, and as the night progresses you find yourself caught up in passive aggressive pokes to your pride, all-out arguments on trivialities, and plenty of “Why aren’t you married yet?”, “When are you leaving that dead-end job?”, “Do you know how much money so-and-so’s kids are making now?”

The holidays can be a social minefield where one misstep can result in an explosive argument – or at least really ruin your Christmas spirit. And while data shows that we can all do with a little “social refining,” we can generally deal with social situations with relative ease. Statistics from Queendom’s Social Skills Test reveal that on average, our social skills are quite decent (mean score of 65 on a scale from 0-100) although women seem to fare better than men in social situations. They are better communicators (score of 66 for women, 62 for men), understand the subtleties of body language better (score of 74 for women, 68 for men), possess better relationship skills (score of 76 for women, 70 for men), are more comfortable socializing (score of 56 for women, 51 for men), and tend to possess better social skills overall (score of 67 for women, 63 for men).

“Although the holidays can bring out the best and worst in everyone, our data show that as we age, our social skills do improve,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president Queendom.com. “Of course, going a little heavy on the eggnog can make us all say things we wish we hadn’t. But while our family can get on our nerves during the holidays, we need to keep in mind that it usually comes from good intentions.” So what can we do to not get swept up in the little tiffs and verbal pokes that our loving families dish out so well?

“Practice putting yourself in other people’s shoes – not literally, unless that helps,” jokes Dr. Jerabek. “When you try to see the world from someone else’s perspective, you begin to understand why they do or say the things they do. Maybe those little hurtful jabs from a loved one are a misguided way of offering you advice – may not be relayed in the best way possible, but they wouldn’t do it unless they cared. And sometimes people’s criticism or tendency to pick fights with you comes from a place of personal dissatisfaction, in that they are unhappy with themselves and so they try to find fault in others. When you take a moment to step away from your ego and into someone else’s, you start to really understand them.”

Other social tips to keep the holidays cheery:

–    Think before you speak. Is what you are about to say worth communicating? Does it need to be said at this exact time?  Will it be productive? What is the best way to put it? Blurting out the first thing that jumps into your head might result in saying something that, upon reflection, may not have been the right thing to say, and was based on a knee-jerk reaction.

–    Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions. Make sure to hear others out before drawing conclusions about what they are relaying to you. A jab about your outfit doesn’t necessarily translate to “You are a total failure as a person.” Focus on understanding what the speaker is trying to communicate and shut off your internal judge.

–    Remember that communication involves more than what is said. Your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice send just as strong a message (or even stronger) than the words you choose. So when grandma hands you over that hideous sweater she knit and not the new iPhone you were asking for, saying “Thank you” will be worthless if you angrily shove it back in the box and sit in the corner with a pout on your face.

How to come out of arguments with as little damage as possible:

–    Don’t focus on being right. If your goal is to win at all costs, you are not truly communicating.

–    Avoid sarcasm. That silver tongue of yours will only lead to defensiveness in others.

–    Be open to apologies. Forgiving someone for a mistake is good for you and good for the other person. By letting things go instead of dwelling on them, you will be healthier and happier. Forgiveness is a gift for you and the person who transgressed against you.

–    Stick to the issue at hand. Many people are tempted to bring up old issues when having an argument. STOP! No one wants to lay out their dirty laundry on Christmas, in front of everyone. It takes attention away from the issue at hand, and only makes you and the other person angrier and more defensive. And talk about making things AWKWARD!

–    Criticize constructively. First, don’t neglect the positive. For every critical comment, try to provide at least one positive one. Be specific about what is bothering you. As much as possible, present issues as an opportunity to learn.

–    Don’t let conflict cause you to hurt the people you care about. In the heat of the moment, regretful things are often said. If you have a tendency to say things you later wish you hadn’t, start dealing with conflicts before they get to the point where you lose control and let loose your emotions.

–    And above all, keep your sense of humor!

Want to find out if you’re a Grinch? Take the Social Skills Test here .

Photo courtesy of Mail a Monkey (where you can also mail a grinch to that humbug friend!)