Looking forward to a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year? Here’s how to stop dinner arguments from spoiling things!

Looking forward to a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year? Here’s how to stop dinner arguments from spoiling things!

Regardless of your religious affiliations, most of you are probably looking forward to a merry Xmas and a happy New Year.

But happiness isn’t always as easy as we’d like at this time of year; family gatherings can sometimes be challenging and / or combative for a range of reasons.

But happiness can still be yours; discussions and even disagreements need not preclude happiness and fun.

So if you want to enjoy your dinners and gatherings with family and friends, keep reading below…

via TED Ideas by Lenora Houseworth-Weston

Want to persuade a friend or family member to open up to your perspective on a hot-button issue? A former debate coach tells you how.

Families – they bring out the best in us and the worst in us. Which means gatherings for the holidays, anniversaries and other big events can sometimes be the scene for major arguments, ranging from the light (which is better: Game of Thrones or The Sopranos?) to the loaded (the most recent election).

For many of us, these discussions are our cue to excuse ourselves and see if help is needed in the kitchen. But we have much to gain by staying put, according to Julia Dhar, a behavioral economist and principal at the Boston Consulting Group. She says, “Rather than thinking about the holidays and other occasions as the fraught time when issues come to a head, think of them as a great time to have human conversations about the things that we care about a lot.”

Prior to her current role at BCG, Dhar competed on an award-winning debate team in Australia and went on to be a debate coach, leading New Zealand’s high-school team and then the Harvard University team to worldwide championships. She strongly believes that we can improve both our relationships and everyday discussions by bringing formal debate tactics, or what she calls “productive disagreement”, to our own lives. “All conversations are an opportunity to engage and persuade,” says Dhar.

Here are her strategies for turning arguments — no matter the topic — into mutually enriching experiences.

1. Call out disagreements.

“People can be hesitant to name conflict for what it is,” says Dhar, “and being the one willing to do that is really powerful.” Heated discussions tend to be the result of strongly held beliefs, so by acknowledging them, we are respecting the other person’s opinions and being true to ourselves.

But it’s important to do this in a calm, non-finger-pointing way. Dhar suggests saying clearly and directly, “I think the thing you and I differ on is this,” rather than “I think the thing you need to know or do is this.”

…keep reading the full & original article HERE