With the heat of the election still simmering (for some, boiling for others), there is a high likelihood that political discussions will be launched this holiday season.
And, while you may have chatted with friends and acquaintances about the outcome, you might not have had the opportunity (for some, nightmare for others) to do so with family members.
As a psychologist, the busiest time of year for me when it comes to my individual clients is the holidays. Being with family who you have avoided all year (or more than a year) can be stressful.
There are Aunt Edna’s passive aggressive comments and Uncle Alfred’s overt inappropriateness.
And now, we add a new ingredient into the party- a new president.
So, what can you do when the conversation gets uncomfortable?
Well Rachel Bender over at Yahoo! asked me the same thing for an article called How to Handle Talking About Politics When You’re Home for the Holidays.
Here are 5 tips to handle talking politics over the holidays:
- Be proactive: Let the family know that politics (and any other hot topics for your family) is off the table. Have the entire family agree to stay away from any political discourse.
- Be assertive: If you didn’t have the “off limits” discussion, then address it head on. Rather than wish they would stop, politely ask that they refrain from talking about politics.
- Don’t personalize: It is easy to feel like someone else’s stern words are directed at your character. And, yes, they may be attacking your beliefs. But don’t personalize what they are saying as an attack on who you are.
- Take a break: Get away from the conversation. Go for a quick walk outside, move into another room, go into the kitchen to help out. Sure, dishes may not be your favorite, but they are better than Aunt Betty ranting on.
- Redirect: Redirection works with toddlers, and may also work with Uncle Alfred. “Hey Alfred, what did you think about the Cubs finally winning the World Series?”
Use these tips to decrease the tension and increase the happiness in your holidays.
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