In the wake of this contentious election, emotions are extremely fired-up for both political camps. To make matters worse, we are now entering the holiday season, where family get-togethers are bound to put people with opposing political beliefs at the same table. With alcohol.
So, what can you do to make sure that your family functions go as smoothly as possible? We’ve compiled a list of ideas for you to try. But, remember, if all else fails, there’s always hiding in the bathroom. We are kidding. Kind of…
Consider Banning Bannon
If you’ve been following the news, you have probably read about Stephen Bannon, President Elect Trump’s new pick for top White House Strategist. This choice has drawn widespread criticism from many groups because of Bannon’s ties to white nationalism. But we digress. Our point is that you might consider banning all political talk at the table. Maybe this is the time to learn more about other aspects of your family members, outside of their political beliefs. Try asking Aunt Edna about her time as a ballroom dancer, or inquire as to Uncle Ed’s childhood on the farm. You never know, you just might come away with a brand new appreciation for your kin.
Become A Gamer
If trying to talk without prompts gives you anxiety, consider bringing some fun party games into the mix. Classics like charades, or card games like Uno and Phase Ten, could be lifesavers when it comes to avoiding conflict. And if you really want to spice things up, you could make the whole dinner a murder mystery party. Hey, better to pretend to kill someone than to actually wish them harm, right?
Channel Your Inner Michael Moore
We once read that when film-maker Michael Moore is seated on a plane next to someone who objects to sitting with him, he asks the other person if the two of them could try something before moving seats. If the person agrees, Moore and his potential seatmate make two lists: one that represents everything that they agree on, and one that details every issue on which the two disagree. Moore’s premise is that there are usually more items on the list of agreements, which prompts the two to remain seated next to one another.
Find Common Grounds
Have coffee. Kidding!
Coffee is optional, but what we really mean is that if you still want to approach controversial subjects, do so with respect for one-another. (Unless, you are dealing with a truly toxic person, in which case we suggest you limit contact as much as possible). Otherwise, remember that you do not have to agree with someone in order to be kind to them. If we’ve learned anything from this election it’s that both sides of the aisle need to find a way to come together and talk about real issues, without insulting each-other; something that many people struggle to do. So, here’s a quote from Mr. Rogers, everyone’s favorite neighbor, that we find helpful in this regard:
” There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind.
The third way is to be kind.”
Thank you, Mr. Rogers!
If you would like to talk more about handling this holiday season, or have any other therapy needs, contact us. We are here to help!