Q. The holidays are here again, and I usually go back home to visit my parents with my family. Every year the same subject comes up and everyone is expected to take sides. There was a really bad family dispute when I was a child between my dad's parents and my mom's family. I don't want to get involved in the same old stupid conversations, and I'm not even sure I should go this year. Got any ideas?
A. One of the really nice things about being an adult is that you get to decide whether you want to go and spend tune with family, friends or anyone for that matter.
That powerful fact tends to get lost at this time of year. I think it is a perfectly acceptable choice to not go.
Begin new traditions
If you want, you can use it as an opportunity to begin new and healthier traditions in your own family in your own home.
If you do go. . .
If you do go, remember that it takes four ingredients to create a no-win, crazy situation.
Demand to do something.
Demand to do nothing.
The inability to talk about the first two.
The inability to leave the playing field.
Let's apply it to you. When you were a kid, one side wanted you on their team, as did the other side. Either way, you were going to upset someone. Children get in trouble for pointing out the absurdity of the situation and can't escape it.
As an adult, however, you have choices that were not available to you then. Now you can comment on the situation. If someone tries to pull you in, remember that it takes at least two people to have a conversation.
You can say, “Thanks, but I'd rather not be a part of that conversation. "
If you get into a conversation that becomes uncomfortable, you can get out of it.
You can say, “I think we need to stop" or “I don't want to talk about this anymore, thank you. "
The other powerful thing you can do is leave the conversation. That can mean going to another room, going for a walk, running an errand or leaving the house entirely. This is why I always recommend that you have a way to leave should you decide to go.
For instance, if you fly in for a visit, have a rental car at your disposal.
You don't want to be trapped.
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