4 TIPS TO NOT YELL AT YOUR RELATIVES DURING ThANKSGIVING Dinner
Thanksgiving is supposed to be about gratitude but for many people seeing family can heighten tension and nerves, especially when they have opposing political views. It’s easy to fall back into the patterns of your childhood and find yourself arguing with siblings or parents. Here are a few helpful tips to respond thoughtfully, ease stress, and avoid arguments.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE AND VALIDATE
When you feel your blood pressure rising and your voice getting louder, try this technique:
Stop the conversation and say “I want to take a moment and acknowledge that we have different viewpoints.” These magical words give you permission to disagree and can be a breakthrough in moving the conversation forward to a more productive tone or subject. I’m on my coop board and I constantly remind myself that while I may have different opinions than my neighbors, we all share the same goal of making our building a pleasant place to live.
2. ADVANCE PREPARE FOR THE DREADED QUESTION
Your mother, aunt, grandparent is not asking you those questions to torture you, despite what it might feel like. They care about you, and are interested in what you’re doing, and unfortunately that sometimes shows up in the form of interrogating questions.
How’s your job search?
How’s single life?
Answer with something simple like “It continues” and change the subject by asking them a question. Read ideas here.
3. REFRAME THE SITUATION
If you go in planning to have a bad time, chances are you’ll have a bad time. So if you’re feeling uneasy about Thanksgiving dinner, how can you reframe the situation?
Is it an exercise to practice tolerance, use your best listening skills, free dinner and drinks?
4. USE I STATEMENTS:
When you feel yourself getting defensive, try to steer clear of “You’re stressing me out" or "you’re pissing me off” and use this formula:
You make me feel ________________(emotion) when you __________________ (do this action).
It removes some of the finger pointing and allows all parties to take responsibility for how they’re feeling.