As Christmas approaches, there are always a lot of fun festivities around. Christmas markets, sales, boozy dinners, and being around friends and families. However, as much as we love having family around, there’s bound to be disagreements and tough discussions and comments that are bound to be said. So how do you not get triggered by racially insensitive, fat-shaming, and undermining comments?
Ask them about themselves.
When a sensitive topic comes up that you don’t want to talk about, start asking them about themselves. Talk about their jobs, lives, and new projects they might have. Psychologically and biologically, when people start talking about themselves, they release dopamine. The release of dopamine is also associated with reward in our brain. So when you get asked uncomfortable questions by your family members, ask them back about themselves. My favorite set of questions would be asking them about their kids’ lives, their grandkids’ lives, or otherwise about their jobs and how they’re feeling right now in this weather.
Top up their drinks
Another great way to get out of uncomfortable situations would also be to top up their food or drinks. Acts of service, even if it’s for nosy judgemental family members, can be effective. Find a way to get out of the conversation with an excuse yet still stay in their good graces by offering them something. Sometimes it’s better to do menial chores rather than have to listen through or answer questions that cross your boundaries with family members who don’t know what boundaries are.
Put your foot down
If you enjoy and crave the chaos and drama in family events, you can always bite back or stand your ground. Tell them that they’ve crossed a boundary and tell them to stop being so rude. Putting your foot down can be done gently or sternly. It’s important to set up boundaries even if they are family. If they may have said something triggering, you can tell them to please stop and that you wouldn’t want to talk about it.