Want to thrive, not just survive, this holiday season? Here are 5 things not to do this holiday, with anyone. These are guaranteed conversation killers that lead to relationship blunders and get in the way of your holiday happiness.
1. Don't Be Negative: In our over scheduled, hyper connected world, it can be easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive. Emotions are contagious and a focus on negative conversations can produce anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness. They also tend to lead to gossip and judgment (more on that below). While it might feel good in the moment, rarely does anything good come from it. No one likes a "Nay Say Nelly" - it's a buzz kill and immediate conversation killer.
2. Don't Judge Others: You know what we are talking about, the need to rate others and impose our standards on them. Sadly, we live in a world full of judgment so for many it is their go-to language. No one likes to be judged, yourself included. Nothing good comes from it. It shuts conversations down, fractures relationships and leads to conflict. It also stops us from learning and let's face it, we all have something more we can learn.
3. Don't Speak When Angry: That's what we call a "loose/ loose" situation - using emotional volatility as a management tool. In those heated moments people often say and do things that they later regret, or wish they could take back. It feels like our emotions are ruling us, rather than we are ruling our emotions. This is when our brains shut down making it hard for us to listen and understand others. We get stuck in a "I am right/ You are wrong" mindset and it almost always leads to conflict. Which takes us to...
4. Avoid Needing to Win Too Much: You know when you feel the need to win at all costs and in all situations - when it matters, when it doesn't, and when it's totally beside the point? We have all been there - giving and/or receiving the "win". Don't do it. Again, nothing good comes from it. When we focus on winning in a conversation we stop listening, talk at people and become closed to others ideas or perspectives. This shuts a conversation down and leads to conflict. We also become emotional (see above). Just because someone thinks or behaves differently than you do, it doesn't make them 'wrong' and you 'right'. It makes you different and provides an opportunity for you to learn something new.
5. Don't Clinging To The Past: It is fun to reminisce with family, friends and colleagues; however, with that can come the need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset to blaming everyone else. As you probably guessed, nothing good ever comes from it. Blame shuts conversations down, destroys trust, limits learning and again, leads to conflict. We all play a role, nothing is ever just down to one person.
Your holiday happiness lies in your ability to be curious in conversations. This will help you shift from negative to positive, ask rather than judge, control your emotions rather than they control you, let go of the need to win, and allow you to reframe and learn. Simply, curiosity is your super power - who doesn't want that during the holidays?