(Dear Readers: This is another popular post from three years ago. With so much hot weather lately, I suspect thoughts of December are welcome!)
Dear Vicki: The holidays are approaching and I recently had a very frustrating conversation with my sister, who I am pretty sure is a Metal. We are both married with children and have always had Christmas dinner together since we were children. This year, my family has the opportunity to go to Hawaii for Christmas to stay in a friend’s timeshare for free. We live in a cold climate and this would be fantastic for my family. However, my sister is very upset at me for even considering doing something different for Christmas than we have done for years, which I think is quite unreasonable on her part and is making me angry. What should I do? Signed, Hoping for Hawaii
Dear Hoping for Hawaii, First let me say I think it’s amazing that you’ve managed to spend every Christmas dinner with your sister since you were children. What about your respective spouses’ families? Have they never had Christmas dinner with you? My Wood fairness hopes that it’s just a matter of everyone living in the same town so that holiday time is equally shared with both sets of relatives. But that’s not the problem you wrote in about, so let’s talk about your dilemma.
I do believe you are correct in your assessment – your sister definitely sounds like a Metal. Traditions are very important to Metals, and for good reason. They have the ability to look back across the cycles and see what has worked and what hasn’t. And to a Metal, if something is working, why would anyone in their right mind want to change it? You don’t mention what your element is, but the fact that you think she is “quite unreasonable” and is “making you angry” suggests that you are probably a Wood. Since Metal and Wood relate via the Controlling Cycle (metal chops wood), her insistence on following traditions likely feels stifling to your sense of excitement in planning something different.
The good news is that this doesn’t need to be a stand off, nor does your family need to give up what sounds like a wonderful holiday vacation. In addition to their devotion to protocol, Metals are exceedingly reasonable people who are usually quite willing to listen to an alternative approach if it’s presented rationally. Emotional drama and angst about something turns off Metals because it’s too fiery and threatening to them (fire melts metal). And dear Wood, a Metal will often turn a deaf ear to angry, emotional explosions because they are just too messy and out of control for a meticulous Metal. So for good results, try to mind your Wood.
I suggest you have a quiet lunch with your sister (a wise Wood might even select her favorite restaurant) and explain in a calm, logical way how much this opportunity means to your family. Offer to participate in a traditional family holiday dinner with her after your time in Hawaii (it is a holiday season, after all). And make sure you bring back special gifts that include her and her family in your adventure. If you approach the situation in this manner, it’s very likely she’ll go along with your suggestions. After all, not only is she a reasonable Metal, she’s your sister and should want what’s best for you. Handled this way, I believe she will move into a balanced Metal place and let go of her need to control the situation.
And here’s another tip: Metals do like alone time, but they like it when they want it. Metals don’t like to be excluded if it’s not their idea. Your sister may be feeling a bit left out right now, so once she agrees to your plan, remember to tell her frequently how much you appreciate her flexibility. That’s not a compliment Metals often receive. I truly believe that if you understand and honor your sister’s Metal needs, the gate will swing wide open for your Hawaiian holiday. Good luck, and Aloha!