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Micro-lessons for your family’s not-so-micro holiday aggressions

No number of vaccine tweets can stop the inevitable: we’ll be riding out 2020 in a pandemic. And now, in early December, the cruel and unusual twists of COVID-19 are on a crash course with more routine holiday traditions: cooked birds, kitschy gifts, and squabbling with relatives over politics. Even in the best of times, we all know to expect the occasional screaming match between the navy blue and burgundy red branches of our family tree. The toll of the virus is likely to make the usual suspects even more… spicy? 

Rest assured! Here are a few tips from the Oppy for how to approach those potentially table-clearing debates. Thanks to In the Fight NBK for their wisdom on this topic

Be willing to compromise. You are at an impasse. You disagree more every time they open their mouth. But do you really disagree on everything? Is anything remotely palatable? Where do you align even a little bit?

Always look for ways to bridge the two positions. That might mean taking some strategic Ls in the debate. But if agreement isn’t even part of the end goal, what the hell are we doing? Let’s at least pretend we can still be open-minded!

Do not assume another view is “irrational.” Everybody has a perspective. That perspective comes from a lot of very real experiences. Making assumptions about how crazy they must be is making a ton of assumptions about everything they have seen and heard that you have not. 

Be honest – is every source of influence on your position perfectly balanced? Like it or not, there are usually legitimate reasons for why people believe differently. You may disagree with what they ignore in defense of those reasons, but that does not mean they are irrational. Trying to undermine their position only actually works if you understand why they hold it in the first place.Take a step back. It is the end of a wild, up-and-mostly-down year. Too many people have faced unimaginable duress in the past nine months. Our obsession with Washington, D.C. is fuel to a fire that has blazed battle lines across the country. Our rabid consumption of electoral politics is exhausting. But the election’s over. Do less. Less than that. Whether physically in one room or virtually across many, enjoy the time with your family in any format you can. This year has given us no surplus to waste with heated bickering.

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