Do you dread the thought of trying to keep conversation positive at the next family get together?
Keep conversation positive even when it’s difficult to do so. We all have those family members who are stuck and stern to their ways. They are HARD to communicate with! I know!
But I also know that it’s very difficult to have a great day when tensions are flared. I’m so tired of going to spend a great holiday with family only to end up disgusted at the arguments that ignited due to someone’s opinion.
Everyone feels strongly about their own opinion. I know that. And I’ve been trying to search for ways to help calm the embers at these family get togethers. I want to have a fun time at my family holiday. Doesn’t everyone?
You Shouldn’t Avoid Your Family
I have been there done that. And I can truly tell you that it’s not fun. It’ll make you feel worse if you kill the relationship. Because deep down inside, the feeling is there. The feeling of love and longing to be there with your relative.
And I know it’s so difficult to reunite after misunderstanding and awkward moments of arguments and fights. But would you do it for the holidays? An important
So, here are some ways I have compiled to keep conversation positive for a happier family holiday.
First of all, Put That Phone Away
Those cell phones can be both a blessing and a curse. I guarantee you’ll survive without it for just a little while. It’s time to keep conversation positive with your family by giving them your full attention.
Because arguments occur over misunderstandings and disagreements. Have your head in the game to keep conversation positive. It will help resolve conflict more quickly and easier.
An important debate about the election or genetically modified organisms won’t be two-sided without your complete attention. Your side and views won’t be heard if you aren’t in the conversation. Because your opinion matters, too.
Everyone’s opinion should matter completely. Especially when it comes to emotional topics.
And holidays can be an emotional time for others. Maybe the family member is stressed about the loss of a friend. Or something else. Everyone is going through something and they just want a listening ear.
So, could you be that listening ear for one family member? For one day?
Then Ask Follow-Up Questions
While listening, don’t say any thing. This is your family member’s time to talk and for you to just listen. Look at them and act like your interested. Really, be interested.
Then, ask follow-up questions. Some examples of these questions include:
- So, how do you feel about that?
- What’s one thing you could change?
- What could you add to your life to make it better?
Make sure your questions are open ended. And that they depend on the situation you are listening to. Please, no facial expressions that might deter them from thinking you are judging them. That’s the worst.
Next, Put ALL Judgement Aside
And I mean all. Keep in mind that everyone is different. And that you cannot change one single thing about any person.
When that person confides in you, listen without judgement. Prove that you can be a truly caring and compassionate listener. Here are some ways to do that:
- Keep a straight face. No matter what kind or type of experience they are telling you, please nix the facial expressions while he/she is talking. Keep your face strong and still (also known as “resting bitch face”).
- Use expressions when necessary. Now, if the person says something truly funny you can smile or laugh. Go with the flow of the conversation.
- Look at them when they are talking. When you look away, they will think you are ashamed or judging them.
- Nod to show that you truly hear the story.
You don’t always have to agree with the person. But you should still listen without judgement. There’s two sides to every conversation.
And the Politics/Religion, too
I know these topics are fun to discuss at times. BUT if you have a family member PASSIONATE about a certain side different than yours, it might be best to avoid discussing these topics unless it truly is necessary.
Here are some other topics to discuss other than politics/religion:
- Kids Activities
- Upcoming Community Activities
- Gift Exchanges
- Upcoming Family Trips
- Movies & TV Shows
And I am well aware some of these things can be passionately expressed with both sides. And they highly depend on your family members’ wealth of knowledge and passion of the topic.
You know your family best. I think you could probably come up with something else to talk about. Heck, start a discussion about arguing! That’ll turn some heads!
In seriousness, maybe it’s time to stop talking. Go do some things together that will unite the family.
Here are some Activities to Unite One Another
Go For A Walk – Getting outside can really break nerves.
Or Play a Crazy Funny Game – Bring one to the family holiday that will make everyone laugh. Here’s some examples:
- For Kids: Twister, BrainFreeze, SmackIt
- JUST Adults: My ADULT siblings and I enjoy playing Cards Against Humanity after the kids go to bed. Play this with an open mind. It’s hilarious. And laughter is the BEST medicine.
- For Everyone: Apples to Apples, FaceOff, Beat The Parents
Then, Go Somewhere Fun Together – Movie? Shopping Trip? A restaurant? What is the activity that everyone could enjoy?
Have you run out of things to talk about with your family? Here are some good subjects to talk about to keep conversation positive when there’s nothing else you can think of.
Subjects to Talk About When There’s Nothing Else
Have you run out of things to talk about? Here are some great open ended discussion topics that you could start and keep conversation positive at any family holiday:
- Favorite Memories
- Favorite Movie – And then watch it. Mine is ‘A League of Their Own’.
- Where would you travel to?
- Blessings – What are you Thankful For?
- Greatest Accomplishment in the year so far – Talk about Goals.
When going around the room and discussing, it’s important to listen to everyone’s ideas and comments. And make sure everyone has a chance to comment. Who knows? Someone could spark up an idea for a new fun activity or event the family can do together.
It’s so amazing how many different ideas could be brought to the family table. But be careful not to criticize anyone’s idea.
Do NOT Do This:
Please do not try to change your family members or friends to make them like you. That is the worst possible thing anyone can do.
First of all, it makes the other person feel like dog doo doo. They are who they are. Don’t make them change. Love them for who they are.
Second, try to see things through their eyes. Take a walk in their shoes. Listen to what they are saying. Invite them to do the same.
Because we are ALL different in our own way. That is what makes us truly special. If we were all the same, the world would be BOOOOORING! Our differences is what connects us and helps us learn by becoming exposed to differences. Especially to teach our children to be kind and generous to others as well.
Finally, Notice Who’s Watching
So, the biggest reason I wanted to compile this list was because I have two beautiful daughters. I was thinking of them and how I wanted them to learn differently from experiences than how I learned.
Because I also have many family members and friends who are different than I am. And it has taken me a long time to really know in my heart how to accept them, understand them and be ok with it.
I don’t want my daughters to remember times when the family holidays were awkward. I have way too many of those memories. And by writing this, I’m hoping to not only help myself to become better. But to help others keep conversation positive as well with those who are different.
Because I know from experience that kids are always watching. They are always listening. And they will imitate actions they see. They will repeat words they hear.
Hence, I want my kiddos to learn how to keep conversation positive. I want them to understand that each side does have it’s own story. Communication is key and the kids are watching. Don’t try to shade them from reality because they are watching. They will find a way to watch. Believe me.
Keep conversation positive for the kids. Allow them to learn how to reunite and to not run away from those who are different and have different opinions. They shouldn’t learn how to run away from anything.
Also teach them to embrace diversity. And to love everyone for who they are. Teach them how to communicate and to share their opinions, but listen without judgement.
But most importantly, teach them how to look forward to the holiday season with all family members who will be there.
Enjoy Your Family This Holiday Season
You might be thinking these tips are blasphemy! No torn family can reunite and have a happy holiday, right?
But they can reunite. Your family can and you can be the one to help keep conversation positive this year.
Any torn family can be together happily on the holiday. The holidays are about getting together. And learning to listen to one another. Coming to an understanding.
- Understand that everyone is DIFFERENT.
- Understand that Listening is Key.
- Ask Follow-Up questions.
- Then, give your opinion but respect their’s.
- Talk about and do fun things that will make memories.
No one knows your family better than you do. So, don’t judge them. Don’t change them. Simply enjoy them. No matter what’s in your past, you can be the one to keep conversation positive at your family holiday.
~ Much Love ~