Tips on Navigating Family Relationships and Tough Conversations During the Holidays

The Holidays are coming up which means spending more time with family – which isn’t always easy with people you may not see eye to eye with. To avoid confrontation and frustration this holiday season, here’s a few ways to navigate challenging conversations and tense relationships:

  1. Do not “take the bait”: When tricky conversations come up, do your very best to refrain from jumping in the discussion.  One of the most common examples of this recently is politics.  With so many strong feelings in this area, some people find it nearly impossible to have a conversation about politics without it turning to arguments, anger, or hurt.  Do your best to refrain from participating in these hard conversations, knowing there is rarely a satisfying outcome. You will feel better having kept your cool staying out of the fray.
  2. Have an “escape hatch”: Plan ahead to identify ways you can sneak away when you need a few moments to decompress, or gather your thoughts.  Strategically leave something in the car that you need to fetch, offer to take the dog for a quick walk around the block, or even excuse yourself for a minute alone.  If there are children at your gathering, engage with them as both a feel-good activity and a way to avoid some of the more challenging adult interactions.  Just a few moments away from what is most challenging can help you slow down and focus on how best to navigate the situation.
  3. Grab a “partner in crime”: If you’re lucky, you have one or a few people you can turn to when things get tough.  Stealing a few minutes alone with them can help talk you down, boost you up, create a strategy for the evening, or to give you some helpful feedback and can help keep you grounded.  Sometimes even knowing you can make eye contact across the table with an ally can mean all the difference in getting through a challenging social situation.


Whether it’s just to talk with a licensed therapist, or another health problem, try LiveHealth Online as a new way to get care this Holiday season! Register your account while you’re well so that you can use it with no hassle for when you need it. LiveHealth Online is for people of all ages and will connect you to the right doctor to help with your concerns.

Comments and opinions from Dr. Lindsay Henderson and hers alone. This is content from an interview and is not considered medical treatment. 

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