3 tips for having difficult conversations during the holidays

Updated: Nov. 27, 2020 at 6:40 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We know Thanksgiving dinners may look different and smaller this year, but you still may find yourself at the dinner table or on zoom with a family member who doesn’t agree with you on something.

So how can you navigate that possible uncomfortable conversation?

We spoke with Archie Messersmith-Bunting who is a mental wellness coach. He says if you find yourself in this situation, try these three tips.

First, explore don’t explain. Ask them to tell you more instead of trying to argue with your opinion - this will keep them talking.

Next, when you’re giving your side - say “I feel.” It’s harder to dismiss someone’s feelings rather than their opinion.

And third, channel your inner boy band and says “bye, bye, bye” if you feel you need to exit the conversation.

Messersmith-Bunting says we may avoid difficult conversations because of what we were taught growing up.

“We all have learned not to talk about religion, politics or football and I’m not sure that did us any good because we never got to see our parents engage in conversations that could have been tense. We never got to see what it looks like, you just stopped those conversations,” said Messersmith-Bunting.

Messersmith-Bunting says it’s important to practice those difficult conversations to show others you can still be friends and family, even if you have differing opinions.

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