Different Styles at My Family Gathering

12 Nov, 2020 / by Amy Lapinskie

How many styles do you recognize at your holiday gatherings?

Man serving roast turkey at christmas at home in the living roomEach of us has a preferred behavioral style. DISC divides them into four main styles, D, I, S, and C. No style is better or worse; they are simply different. Each style brings their own strengths and development areas. DISC describes our most comfortable ways of doings things; how we prefer to go about the day. Of course, we adjust all day long. We also need to factor in our skills, experiences, attitude, values, values and intelligence which are not measured by the DISC tool.

The funny thing is we tend to cruise on our natural style when we are comfortable; hence at family functions. Think about yourself in a job interview or when you were on your first date; you're actively adjusting to create better outcomes. However, it takes energy to adjust, so why bother if we're just around our family members, right?!

We should practice adjusting, not just at work, but also at our family gatherings. It can mean the difference between feeling the joys versus the stressors of the holidays.

So, identify your own style and practice identifying your family members during the next holiday gathering and give yourself more options to make better adjustments.

D-styles: large and in charge

Growing up my Aunt and Uncle always hosted the family Christmas Eve celebration. As I became older and familiar with DISC, I realized they didn't host it every year because Christmas is their favorite holiday. They hosted it every year because they wanted to control the menu!

My Aunt wanted and needed the celebration to be centered around Swedish food: herring, steak tartare, Swedish meatballs, etc. Our family did not serve any of those foods when we hosted. So, there came a time when my Aunt took charge and decided they would always host Christmas Eve at their house. This allowed her to have full control of the menu.

Help out your D-styles this holiday season when many things may not be under their control. Give them opportunities to take charge and feel accomplished.

Who comes to mind as the D-style in your family gatherings? Who wants to have control and act independently?

D-styles Holiday Joys and Stressors

I-styles: life of the party

As long as I can remember, my Dad has always been the life of the party. He's never been one to shy away from being the center of attention. Dad is always the one to joke and tease. He loved when my cousins would bring a "new" boyfriend or girlfriend to the holiday celebrations; it added variety. Mind you, he wasn't always fond of it when his little girl did! Nevertheless, he would mingle and talk to every person.

Give your I-styles opportunities to chat and interact. Be understanding that our current times and inability to make in person connections may make them more emotional.

Who is the social butterfly, or I-style, in your family?

I-styles Holiday Joys and Stressors

S-styles: holiday traditions

My mom was the steady-eddy in the family. Holidays were steeped in tradition and it was quality time for the family. You always knew what would be served on Thanksgiving. There were certain dishes we only ever ate on Thanksgiving. (yummy potato casserole).

Another thing you could always count on was the Christmas tree was never put up before Thanksgiving; that would have been a breach of tradition. Santa would always bring my brother and I the exact same amount of presents, with unique wrapping paper for each of us, and separated into our own piles. For my mom, it always had to be fair and even. Mom was the family's elf; working hard so we could all enjoy the holidays more.

Give your S-styles as much one-on-one and family time as possible. Stick with comfortable traditions. They may not show stress, but your sensing S-styles are probably feeling it.

Who's the steady S-style in your family?

S-styles Holiday Joys and Stressors

Making a list and checking it twice

Who likes to shop on Christmas Eve? Does shopping bring you joy or does it send shivers down your spine? There is no right way to do it. Many people love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. However, for me, I prefer it to be organized and planned. Events need to be on my calendar well in advance. No last minute parties for me. And, no last minute shopping for me either. I don't like feeling rushed.

C-styles Holiday Joys and Stressors

Furthermore, during the social gatherings, I prefer if everyone could get along. I cringe at conflict; especially with family members.

Give your C-styles time alone to re-energize. What may be fun and spontaneous to you can cause a lot of stress for your C-styles.

Who comes to mind as the C-style in your family?

So, what are you waiting for? Start practicing today, both at work and at home. Most importantly, take a moment to enjoy the holiday season!

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Topics: DISC, DISC styles, Communication

Amy Lapinskie

Written by Amy Lapinskie