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Keeping the Peace: 5 Holiday Communication Tips
All social situations have the potential to be stressful, even at family gatherings and joyful holiday reunions. Knowing how to navigate these situations can help everyone feel at ease and embrace the holiday spirit.
Preventing arguments and heated discussions around the dinner table isn’t impossible
Though some of us may not want to admit it, family gatherings during the holidays are sometimes stressful. With people of different ages coming together, generations can collide, leading to communication roadblocks and misunderstandings. Here are five ways to keep things copacetic.
Redirect Problematic Topics
Many families attempt, year after year, to implement a “no politics or religion” rule for holiday conversations, but since these subjects are so personal and integral to our daily lives, that rule is almost always broken. Who can resist talking about beliefs they hold dear? The key to keeping the peace is redirecting the flow of conversation before it engrosses guests. At the first sign of a potentially polarizing topic, gently change the subject. If one guest in particular is a repeat offender, try to involve him or her in a distracting activity. Maybe the kids need help building a gingerbread house or some after-dinner dishes need washing. If all else fails, proposing a fun game like charades or Cranium could do the trick. Who has time to argue about elections when they’re acting out a movie scene?
Maintain a Positive Atmosphere
Nobody’s life is perfect. Even the most upbeat, amiable guest can experience setbacks and emotional upset during the holidays. You can’t foresee problems like delayed flights, sick children, marital tensions, or accidents, but you can ensure that the general vibe of your get-together is welcoming and inclusive. Offering sincere regard and gratitude for each guest goes a long way toward making everyone feel comfortable.
Reignite Happy Memories and Create New Ones
Celebrating the holidays with family means you likely have a long history with most of the people present. A great way to boost everyone’s mood is to reminisce about the good times you’ve shared and avoid revisiting old hurts like childhood rivalries or traumatic events. Ask relatives to retell beloved jokes and anecdotes, congratulate them on recent achievements, and try to make this occasion one that will be remembered fondly.
Keep an Eye on the Kids
If there are children at your gathering, the potential for a ruckus is high. Depending on their ages, it may be necessary to keep a close eye on them to ensure no one is being bullied or excluded from playtime. Not only will this make them happier and reduce disruptions like tantrums and crying, but it also mitigates the animosity parents might feel for one another when their children aren’t getting along.
Be Mindful of Hearing Difficulties
With hearing loss affecting 1.5 billion people globally, there’s a good chance that at least one of your guests lives with the condition. Whether they wear hearing aids or not, there are steps you can take to ensure they’re included in conversation and feel heard and understood:
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before speaking
- Use facial expressions and gestures to accentuate your message
- Raise your voice slightly
- Use short, simple sentences
- Rephrase your words if the person is having a hard time understanding you
Let us help make this year the most peaceful one yet! Contact us today for a complimentary hearing consultation.