The Spring Festival is the most joyful time of the year, but it can also be stressful. With all the traveling, visiting relatives, and gift-buying, the holiday can become a tense time for many families. Joyful gatherings can quickly turn into heated exchanges between partners, parents and their children, in-laws and other family members, especially when underlying tensions already exist.
Here are some tips offered by The Huffington Post and Time magazine to help you handle conflicts and arguments during the holiday.
1. Listen, really listen
When your parents or other family members are blaming, reluctant to share, or filled with animosity toward you, listen to them. Let them be heard completely. By letting them vent, you now know where your relationship stands and what you can do in the future to bring it back to normal again.
2. Stop generalizing
If you start using words like “always, never, every, forever, anything, anyone, everyone, or typical”, you’re probably guilty of generalizing.
Stick to specific details and resist the urge to bundle together other similar situations. If a family member hurls generalizing statements at you, recognize the words as a single expression of anger. Calmly steer the conversation back to the particular issue at hand.
3. Stop attacking
Attacking someone’s identity or personality hits them hard. Whether you say something outright (“You’re so stupid”) or something more subtle (“I think you could do better”), attacks like these are hurtful on a deep level.
If you find yourself labeling a family member in some way, redefine negative characteristics as positive ones. Instead of calling the other person stubborn, think of him or her as determined.
4. Stop rejecting
There are two words that can make an argument even worse: “no” and “but”. They don’t even have to be verbalized; an eye roll or dismissive laugh can do the same damage. Make an effort to resist using the word “no”. Use the words “yes... and”.
This change in language will force you to be more constructive. Instead of rejecting the other person’s idea completely, recognize the good points of their suggestion and then follow up with your concerns.
5. A whole list of don’ts
Don’t give advice that isn’t requested, don’t pressure, don’t criticize, and don’t be demanding. Create the conditions where each individual can communicate clearly and accept each other’s diverse and even contrary perspectives.
6. Take responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made
When we’re attacked, it’s only human to protect ourselves. But going on the defense can’t solve any problems. Forget the blame game. Know that in order to have cooperation or reconciliation, you must be able to acknowledge the ways you may have contributed to the difficulties and admit your shortcomings.