The Monday After

It is the day after the Thanksgiving weekend and many of you are basking in the glow of having been with close family and friends. Also many of you are breathing for the first day in the last 4 or 5 after a marathon of cooking, hostessing, cleaning and dealing with family politics of the highest order.

Some may even be dealing with dread as they ponder the upcoming December holidays because there was personal tension, criticism and perhaps even a fight at Thanksgiving. When a lot of family comes together with high expectations, you can be sure there will be some tension and arguing.

Don’t wait for December to come to have a repeat of whatever just happened during Thanksgiving. Now is the perfect opportunity to deal with the issues or arguments that came up and clear the air so that the next holiday will be relaxed and fun. Give everyone a few days and then pick up the phone or get together for coffee to talk about what happened and resolve the tension.

I would suggest starting the conversation by saying something like, “Because I value our relationship so much…”. Generally this statement is true but often not spoken because you feel angry at the other person. Starting out this way will make it clear you are there to improve things rather than be attacking. The other person will be far more likely to work with you than to go on the defensive.

Because it always takes “two to tango” to some degree, try to think about what you may have brought to the situation and accept responsibility for that. You can explain how whatever that person did that you found difficult made you feel and how you would rather be spoken to. If you find it too difficult to speak in person, consider writing a letter. Writing allows you to organize your thoughts and sometimes prevents anger from getting the better of you and making you say things you regret.

Holidays are really about relationships and remembering that these are the people in your life that count the most. It is worth putting in the effort to making them work.

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