Let’s Talk Turkey

Let’s Talk Turkey

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Our life coach columnist shares three tips to manage the awkwardness when spending time with family and friends during the holidays – or anytime throughout the year.

The holiday season is upon us, and I frequently get requests for extra coaching from my clients who want a strategy and plan to get through the holiday season. 

Yes, it’s time to spread our thanksgiving and gratitude for the season and spend time with others.  However, some gatherings, especially during the holidays, can be challenging and daunting, especially if you only see certain friends or family members once or twice a year, and have nothing in common.  

You may also encounter family gatherings that are stressful because some type of fall out among the family has occurred. This makes it really challenging to put on a bright smiling face and enter the room without feeling awkward and uncomfortable.

Sound familiar? You’ve been there? I have as well, which is why I’m providing you three tips you can practice during the upcoming holiday season (or, actually, anytime) to help release the anxiety and stress associated with gatherings.

1. Aren’t they cute – when you are listening to someone and they are sharing a story or talking about something that doesn’t interest you, or maybe it triggers you, simply think inside your head, “Isn’t she/he cute”, and smile. This is a simple but very effective way of deactivating the lack of interest or trigger.  It gives you a different perspective and can offset your desire to say something you might regret.
 
2. Interesting – this is one word that can end a conversation without having to explain or defend yourself. It has no positive or negative indication; just neutral. When someone says something that triggers you, and you want to blast back, pause and simply say, “Interesting”, and stop at that. Nothing more to say.  If they ask, “What does that mean?”, you can repeat, “I just find it interesting –that’s all.” Then, exit the conversation by going for another bite to eat or seeing someone across the room you want to speak with and excuse yourself.
 
3. Eat the popcorn (metaphorically) – often when you are around a group, you will hear others  gossiping. If you’re not able to move away from the conversation and you don’t want to be included but don’t know how to be removed, envision yourself in a movie theater watching the big screen and eating popcorn.  What you’ll discover, is that listening is more powerful than adding to the conversation. You won’t create an abrupt departure that could cause additional gossip but you won’t be caught up in conversation in which you’d rather not participate.

There you have it. When you find yourself in the middle of holiday gatherings, these three ways will help you interact with folks during those awkward holiday gatherings with more ease and confidence. Give one or all three a try. And, if you feel it’s just too much to even go, give yourself permission to decline the invitation unapologetically. Happy Holidays!

Melissa Kirkpatrick
Melissa Kirkpatrick is a Transformational Coach and Motivational Speaker. She’s been featured in Cincy Magazine , CincyChic online magazine and is the author of the impactful self-help book “5 Steps to Your Own D.R.I.V.E.” Melissa offers one-on-one services, motivational speaking and hands-on workshops, allowing individuals and teams to shift their drive from stuck to unstoppable. To learn more, visit http://www.findyourowndrive.com or email missy@findyourowndrive.com.

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