As we all know Holiday time is sometimes stressful. We often find ourselves spending time with family who although we care a great deal about, we don’t have that much in common with. So here we present some 5 helpful communication tips:
- We all know the power of showing interest in others. Dale Carnegie put it so well when he said “you can make more friends in two weeks being interested in other people than in two years trying to get them interested in you” Yet so often we retain these well known philosophies for business purposes only. This year why don’t you try and apply this to your holiday interactions. Show genuine Interest in your family and friends, ask caring questions and really listen with concern.
- Do you have an older aunt, grandmother, or family friend? They are very familiar to you, you have known them since you were a child, but do you really know them. Have you ever asked them about where they were when JFK was assassinated and how they felt when Watergate broke? Have you ever asked them what the most daring thing they ever did? There is often a whole aspect of a person’s personality that is dormant until you ignite the memory. It will give you a whole new perspective and everyone will have a more meaningful interaction.
- Starting conversations always takes effort and often we are not sure what to say. Remember everyone has a past, present and future. You can always come up with questions based on this simple framework. Starting with the past, where did you go to school, what inspired you to become an architect, when did you first know you wanted to become a doctor etc. On to the present, what projects are you working on, what is exciting/ frustrating challenging with what you’re involved with right now………..and then on to where do you hope to be in 5 years/ what are your goals etc. This works well if you are sharing the holidays with people you don’t know very well, or your children invite friends over or your land up having to sit with your partner’s friends at an office holiday party.
- You never know when or how you meet people that may influence your life. So often we make a decision about a gathering without giving the experience a chance. I will never forget going to a New Years Eve party with my single sister in law. We arrived at a friend’s house for a celebration and my single sister-in-law took one look at the guests and the loud karaoke and decided to go home. What she didn’t realize was that sitting in the kitchen was the hostess’s single brother who was visiting from New York and would have loved to have met her. Give people and situations a chance. Remember, it is very often the people we meet through others that impact our lives.
- Family dynamics can be complicated and very often we react without even thinking. This year be conscious of the dynamics, become aware of what irritates you and ask yourself if in fact your reaction is warranted. If somebody says something that upsets you let them know in a really diplomatic way. My sister is in the habit of criticizing my oldest daughter, she probably isn’t even conscious of doing it. It really worked at a recent family gathering when I said “you know it really hurts me when you say that, it would help me a lot more if you spent some time with her and tried to get to know her” she took her shopping and they had a great day. That was far more constructive than telling her to look at her own children or harboring deep seated resentment.
It is more important than ever to find sanctuary and create peace in our homes. Make this holiday season one of conscious communication and the creation of meaningful and caring relationships.