Just don’t tell them to stop talking. “This is a low-chance strategy because it gives all of the power to the other person who may not be ready or able to stop the escalation,” she said. Instead, take control by moving on to a new subject or speaker. And while it sucks – which is the point, you can even introduce physical activity. “Say ‘OK everyone, 1-2-3, we’ll get up and stretch,'” she said. “Whatever it takes to break the rising tide of tension.”
The problem solver
When everyone is finally together, The Problem Solver can avoid pressing family problems. Halfway through Turkey is the perfect time to ask your parents about the family home sale!
Not so fast, said Dr. Pillemer. While it can be tempting to bring up big problems, especially if it can take you a while to get back together, “don’t use Thanksgiving as a time to try to fix someone’s life.”
Instead, think of it as a period of research into the problem you are dealing with. “Ask key questions,” he said. “But make them neutral and show genuine interest: ‘What are your plans for the next five years? What are your friends doing against downsizing? ‘Use the time you spend together for compassionate research. Then come back to a real discussion after your vacation based on what you’ve learned. “
If you can’t resist, said Dr. Pillemer, at least rehearse the conversation beforehand. “Play it first with someone who is not emotionally involved and can give you objective feedback on the content and tone,” he said.
That doesn’t mean you need to eat in silence. Instead, focus on everyone’s favorite topic. “People love to talk about children,” said Dr. Moseley. “If there are children there, ask what new things they can show you. If not, bring back fond memories that everyone can cherish as a child. “
While some people look forward to the soothing fanfare of Thanksgiving to smooth the rough edges of a troubled year, others cannot pull themselves out of a funk while the world feels like it is on fire. The Eeyore wants to celebrate, but when the celebrations are smaller, what is it about? Could you just have a frozen pizza on the couch, right?