Diffusing Tension at the Thanksgiving Table!

screen_shot_2015-11-19_at_12.15.07_pmOkay, folks, one week until Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. One of the things I love about it is that so many people have giant dinner parties with lots of guests, some of whom have never met, and others who may know each other only too well.

As we are reminded every year, there can be conversational pitfalls with such a diverse group of guests. The old and wise advice to steer clear of politics and religion is a great thing to remember. There is another great tip to keep in mind, particularly as the wine flows and the tongues loosen. If a touchy subject comes up, and especially if you suddenly feel defensive or angry, ask yourself this question before you speak: “What impact do I want to have with my words?”

As you look across the table at the person you’re speaking to, think about what you might say, and especially, how you might say it. Check into your body–are you clenching your hands, stiffening your posture, ready for a fight? Or are you relaxed, ready to have a reasonable discussion or to change the subject? Even a quick moment of breathing and consciously relaxing can allow you to gather your thoughts and be truly intentional about the impact you are going to make. Also remember: saying nothing is always an option. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone; may your feasts be festive and your conversations be sparkling!

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