Advice on navigating the holidays with family

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Some families might be exhausted by the news cycle of the last two years, and have banned political conversation from the holiday table  but for many others, things still get heated when relatives with opposing views come together.

National Conflict Resolution Center recommends 4 steps to follow when speaking to a friend, relative, or loved one with opposing views at the holiday dinner table this year:

1. “Right vs. wrong”: It’s rarely that simple.
Our human egos tell us that our well-considered views are always valid and opposing beliefs have no merit. This is binary thinking at its worst. Every side in a debate has some value, including the person you are disagreeing with. And every line of argument contains some flaws, including yours.

2. Breathe deeply. Then think slowly.
Rushing to judgment in the heat of anger is a good recipe for a bad decision. Before spouting off, take a deep breath to clear your head (and lower your heart rate to a healthy level). Then spend a minute considering all the angles before you proceed with an open mind and a calm manner.

3. Listen to the other person and not to the voice inside your head.
An interactive discussion is your opportunity to hear and comprehend someone else’s viewpoint. If you use your “listening” turn to rehearse what you want to say next, you’re not engaging in a conversation – you’re trapped in a monologue that wastes time and prolongs conflict.

4. Surprise! You have more in common than you think.
Consider the probability that you and your opponent, like any two people on the planet, have some shared value, like love of family and hope for a better future. Imagine that this buried treasure will benefit you both, but only if you work together to unearth it. Find something you care about equally, and you can start down a path together toward consensus and healing.

National Conflict Resolution Center provides the resources, training and expertise to help people, organizations and communities manage and solve conflicts, with civility.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego