Navigating Hard Conversations this Holiday Season

The holidays can be a great chance to be together with your family, but what happens when your family brings up sensitive topics in conversation that may cross boundaries, make you uncomfortable, and/or be offensive?

First of all, you will get through it- just remind yourself that what others say is a reflection of them, not you. You can try changing the conversation and bringing up different topics to steer away from unwanted comments. If that doesn’t work, you can always try speaking up honestly and letting your family know that the conversation makes you uncomfortable, dampens the holiday mood, hurts your feelings, or simply isn’t appropriate in the setting. You can set boundaries and let them know that you will not engage with, or listen to certain conversations and behaviors, and remind them that a loving family will respect that. If you are feeling bold and want to rebuttal, make sure to stay respectful, calm, and level-headed to prevent any cause of blame on you.

Speaking up and saying what’s on your mind can be really empowering and freeing, as you shouldn’t have to tolerate hate or disrespect at any time from anyone, regardless of whether they’re family. No matter how those conversations may go, allow yourself time and space after to unpack what happened, and process. Practice whatever form of self-care works best for you, and don’t be afraid to reach out to any friends or support systems you may have.