It’s Christmas: a time for friends, family, too much food, booze and arguments.
Unfortunately it’s par for the course that old arguments will resurface, you sit in someone’s favourite chair, eaten all of the purple Quality Street or that drunken comment about Aunt Christie’s dress from 1998 will come back and haunt you.
Here are a few tips to (hopefully) help you get through the holiday period and minimise arguments.
1. Take Five
Take five deep breaths, count to five, turn around five times. Do something that breaks the tension.
It may not be you that’s riled up but taking a few seconds out may be enough for you (or the other party) to see a bit more clearly and calm down.
If a short interlude doesn’t work, try a longer one. Go for a walk, have a bath… just get away!
2. Find common ground
Even it’s the smallest thing, this could help bridge the gap and lead on to further harmony. Explicitly state what you do agree on (rather than what you don’t) as a way to build bridges.
3. Listen and Understand
Listen to what the person is actually saying, let them know you’ve heard it and understand it. People tend to keep on blowing their gasket if they think you don’t understand what they’re feeling. The best way to do this is to rephrase and repeat back what they’ve said. This also has the added bonus of them listening to their own issues and maybe realising that kicking off because you want to watch Game of Thrones and they want to watch Dr Who isn’t the end of the world.
4. Ask for confirmation
Ask that the other person understands your point of view. Don’t phrase it in a snappy way, assuming that they haven’t gotten the point, say things like “Do you see where I’m coming from” or “Do you understand my opinion” rather than “I’m just checking you’ve not got the wrong end of the stick” or “Don’t misunderstand me beatch!”.
5. Re-clarify what the problem is
Sometimes restating the obvious can actually make the problem seem trivial. Saying the issue out loud may make both parties realise how petty it seems.
6. Be prepared to compromise
You may not be able to solve this 100% so be ready to come up with some compromises that both parties are happy with, even if that means you need to agree to disagree
7. Let sleeping dogs lie
If it’s an old standing family argument, try to keep it on hold for the short period of time you’re together. It’s the season to be cheerful, jolly and forgiving after all.
Over To You…
Any more tips? Apart from drink more booze or run away! Let us know in the comments