Those Thanksgiving Discussions
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we thought it’d be a perfect time to talk about the time-honored tradition of getting into fights with family at the table. For whatever reason, it seems like Thanksgiving “discussions” are a popular time for families to get together and really hash it out over an extravagantly large meal.
College is a place where you’ve made a conscious decision to be around people who are similar to you. Debating with parents can be hard, especially when you’re coming directly from that environment, and when they don’t have similar views. Parents can be tough. Conflict can be tough. So, combine the two and it can become a really sticky situation.
It should go without saying that parent-child relationships are unique to everyone and we don’t want to ignore that fact. We’re here to share some general tips on trying to ease that Thanksgiving tension, but, in the end, your relationships are yours to navigate.
It Doesn’t Always Have To Be Discussed
While this may not sound productive, just hear us out. People have a different way of approaching holidays or days that may be important to them. Recognizing that your relationship with a day can be different from someone else’s might make it easier to justify not fighting about something that distracts someone else from what that day means to them.
For example, some people really like Thanksgiving, others hate the food and the entire idea behind the day. While it is crucial to have those conversations, maybe in-the-moment is not the right time. Bring it up the day before, or afterwards because that can be a much less emotionally charged moment to talk. Or strike a balance, give your perspective in a way that’s respectful of others but prefaces a conversation to be had at a later time.
Listen To Understand
Understanding why someone disagrees with you can provide a couple of things. First, it opens your mind to the idea that you might not be 100% right about everything you believe. Second, if you happen to be 100% right, you can at least say that you truly heard the person out and still stand by your opinion.
Plus, to actually debate you have to know what you’re arguing against. Know your opponent. We’ll leave it at that.
Know When To Stop
Being able to walk away from a hard conversation (sometimes literally) allows everyone to reflect and cool off from what possibly became an unproductive argument.
In the end, you can only really control yourself, so knowing how to set boundaries for yourself can help reduce the damage of a Thanksgiving blowout.
Remember What The Conversation is About
People hear messages differently, so don’t just generalize and assume that whoever you’re talking to can be treated as the label you can assign to them. Just because someone can be labeled as a “liberal” or “conservative”, doesn’t take away from the complexity of each individual and how they understand the world through their own lens. Treat them as such because that’s how messages get across with more ease. People and arguments are nuanced.
The goal is to minimize stress during an already-hectic season. Hopefully these 5 little tips help you do some damage control this year at the inevitable Thanksgiving “discussions”.