For the lucky people out there who have families and friends who all get along well over the holidays, we envy you! And we hope you enjoy your holiday gatherings thoroughly. But for the many of us who have to navigate difficult situations, strained conversations, and parties with attendees who don't see eye-to-eye on politics, this blog is for you.
We've all been there. We find ourselves at a holiday gathering and there's a strained political conversation going on in one room. And slowly people are trying to leave before it gets too heated. Or maybe the shouting has already started! When you think of this moment, is it a family member or a friend? Or possibly both? Whatever the case, we've come up with some tips to help you not just get through these parties, but actually enjoy them!
We've shared many TEDTalks on our blogs and once again we are looking to the professionals for help. And thankfully, they don't disappoint! Celeste Headlee walks viewers through excellent tips in her talk titled "Help make American talk again." Headlee makes the point that it's important to talk to people who disagree with us, and we couldn't agree more.
But if you need some more tips from TED on how to talk to that person you disagree with, but not end up arguing, then check out the accompanying blog. They've laid out the easy-to-follow steps that we can all use.
You manage to have a conversation with that "difficult" party goer, but what now? How do you not let it ruin your night? And how do you get back to enjoying the party and not dreading future gatherings? We recommend employing mindfulness to make sure you have a good time and don't let that argument or disagreement bother you.
This article, 10 Mindful Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season, is a great place to start. Remember to be compassionate and really listen to your friends and family. That will help engage your empathy and reduce any lingering anger.
Other great tips from the article include enjoying some sweet treats, making sleep and meditation a priority, and of course--remember to breathe! When we find ourselves ins stressful situations, it can be easy to let the emotions take control. So find a quiet place, take some deep breaths, and think of all the things you enjoy about the holidays. Focus on those and you might just find yourself actually enjoying the parties in real time!
If you want to take a more proactive approach to stopping arguments at holiday parties this year, then show up with a copy of Why Can't We All Just Get Along? Not only does it make a great host gift (hint hint), but it's setup to prevent arguments. The questions are worded in such a way as to engage more thoughtful responses, introspection, and listening from everyone participating. The game is the perfect way to get everyone to hear each other and be open.
Vulnerability can make for more meaningful moments, but you may need to be the first one to take vulnerability plunge. So pull some of your favorite cards and steer the tone of the night before it has a chance to be tense.