Difficult Family Conversations


What’s up Internet? My name is Ian Bloom. Welcome to Nerd Finance! I’m your resident financial life planner and huge nerd!

In today’s video, we are going to go back a little bit. At the beginning of the month I talked about running your household like a kingdom if you’re going to be hosting. Well, there’s some trouble in the kingdom because this video is on those difficult family conversations that can only possibly take place during the holidays. Whether it’s politics, religion, or some other thing that’s very near and dear to you, you may feel a lot of emotion around this time of year. So, here’s a couple of quick tips to help you navigate that emotion.

Rule number one for difficult conversations around the family dinner table is very simple – if you raise your voice, you lose. This may seem counterproductive, because you want your point to be heard over all the chatter and discussion, but just know that anytime you get angry your points become less coherent. You’ll speak less intelligently and you’re less likely to get your point across in a way that doesn’t offend anybody else at the table. If you’re offended by something somebody else says that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to be offending the entire dinner table or making a scene.

The second rule of navigating difficult conversations with family is – listen for the pain. If someone is talking about a contentious topic, whether that be religion politics or something else, with a lot of emotion behind it there’s probably a story behind their belief. Beliefs often come from a place of having an either extremely negative or an extremely positive experience. Often around politics, religion, or something similar there is a lot of pain there, so listen for it and identify it. If you can identify the pain in someone else’s subject matter you make it a lot easier to proceed in the conversation without offending them, making the conversation snowball out of control, thereby leaving everybody feeling like the conversation went very, very wrong. So listen for that, it’s there… trust me.

Rule number three of navigating difficult family conversations is – acknowledge the other person’s viewpoint and get yours across in the same sentence, without diminishing either. You can have a contrary belief to somebody else at the table. I’ve never heard of anybody who had a family dinner table conversation around the holidays and completely changed their worldview based on it. So, I know that in some cases the views that are being expressed there are outdated or maybe so contrary to yours that it actually offends you, but keep in mind that you know shooting down somebody else’s viewpoint is less likely to get them to change it. State yours in a positive way, state theirs in the best way that you can acknowledge it, and move past it, There’s really not a whole lot that you’re going to gain from a true argument at the dinner table.

This isn’t really a rule, but always remember that you have the right to dismiss yourself. Whether that means going to take a bathroom break until the conversation is finished or just getting up from the dinner table to clean your plate.

Wrapping up this topic, these are the three simple rules for navigating family dinner table conversations, and these difficult family conversations wherever they happen around the holidays. They’re not always that simple when you’re in the heat of the moment, so just remember to take a deep breath and acknowledge that if it’s some sort of bigotry or bias you are allowed to just walk away.

Thanks so much for watching this video! I hope you enjoyed it and if you did please make sure to like, comment, subscribe, and interact with the video in any way that you want. Then make sure to find your way over to our website at openworldfp.com. There you can find the blog, which much like this youtube channel features all the videos that I produce, but then it also has a transcript of all those videos. Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!

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