Times around the Holidays can be a mixed bag of emotions. With the joy and excitement around this time of year, there may also be anxiety and the anticipation of hard conversations with family members and loved ones. We have all felt that pressure, regardless of dynamics, connecting with loved ones can be difficult. 

However, maybe it’s about reframing your mindset around these talks. Instead of assuming it will be hard or uncomfortable, why not go into these environments with a few topic ideas? Let’s give a few tips and tricks for navigating your holiday conversations. 

Choose your Holiday audience wisely. 

It may not be beneficial to talk to your conservative uncle about the political climate as it always results in tension or resentment. Go into conversation knowing that the other is a safe person for you, even if that circle is small. 

How do you choose who is safe? Ask yourself these questions before the gathering: 

  • Who here makes me feel heard? 
  • Where do I feel cared for? 
  • Am I accepted by this person? 

Pick topics that add connection than isolation around the table. 

There’s not an issue talking about what you do for a living or if you’re in a relationship, but these kinds of questions can feel singular and dry and somewhat uncomfortable to answer. Adding in some vulnerability offers an open space for warmth and connection, without feeling too pointed. 

Asking questions with intention can sound like this: 

  • Who in your life are you enjoying time with? 
  • What are you finding fulfillment in these days? 
  • What activities have you been excited about lately? 

Small talk topics don’t have to be so forced. 

Personally, small talk bores me and I can’t bring myself to tune into what the other person is saying. Questions about the weather or latest news only get you so far. But small talk can be intriguing and fun if you take a different take on questions. 

Taking an interest in the lives of others with small talk questions like these: 

Ask about their routines! 

  • Their morning or evening routines create a layer of connection and you may find some inspiration to try something new in your own routines. 

Low stake debates. 

  • Do you think the Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie or a Halloween? What fashion trends should never come back in style? Asking fun, engaging questions lightens tension and feels inclusive with others.

Heres the bottom line. 

Holidays can feel hard when we let our anxiety, past interactions, or history outweigh what’s in front of us. Remember, it is not your responsibility to keep the energy in a room flowing but it is your responsibility to manage your own. 

If all of this feels overwhelming, if the holidays are painful for you, please reach out to our offices to set up a consultation. After all, the Holidays are meant to be spent in community and we hope to be here for you.