How To Enjoy Your Relatives From “Across The Aisle” This Thanksgiving

Even though lockdowns loom, many are still making plans to gather with their families this week for Thanksgiving. Some are looking forward to seeing their relatives. Others are dreading the potential political conversations that might ensue.

If you’re gathering with your relatives who have different political opinions than you, how can you make this Thanksgiving a wonder rather than a war?

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Don’t expect a war. In any situation, the way you pre-condition your mindset matters. If you are “looking for a fight,” as they say, you’re going to find one. Expect that no matter how conversations go, that your total time together will be magical.

2) Start with the end in mind. No matter what the situation, picture you leaving with smiles, and no regrets. If you’ve never used visualization before, close your eye, picture the environment, and see yourself in it in a positive light.

3) Navigate touchy conversations with humility. If you’re an Enneagram 8, this will be very, very difficult. For you, an uncomfortable debate is like playing a fun game — one in which you have to win. The problem is, most people view tough conversations as conflict and will become defensive, shut down, and/or lash out.

If the conversation does get heated, realize that 99% of the time, no matter what you say, you’re not going to change the other person’s mind. No one has ever been argued into belief. Use non attacking words and a tone of curiosity. Respond by saying something like, “Hm, that’s interesting” (inflection down). “Tell me more about that.” When asked or pushed for your opinion, say, “For me, I think …” or “It seems to me…”

You can keep it personal to you by saying, “I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about that.” Don’t shy from sharing your opinion but make sure you’re not trying to change theirs.

4) Control you and you only. The Bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everybody.” Romans 12:18. Remember that “you” are the only person you have dominion over. As was said in the last point, most likely, you’re are not going to change the other person’s mind. Be okay with that and commend their soul to God. :).

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. Be thankful for everything that happens with your relatives, and let the peace of God dwell in you richly.


Published by Todd Stocker

I love my family, music, writing and the Minnesota Vikings!

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