How to Survive Thanksgiving

| October 30, 2018

October is almost over and Thanksgiving is almost here: a holiday filled with food, fun, and fights. While I do enjoy a good argument, it is important to me (and should be important to everyone) that my family holidays aren’t ruined. It would be a perfect world if everyone could discuss ideas without being personally dragged through mud. And while this isn’t fully possible, it is an important ideal to strive for. Colossians 4:6 says: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”.

We all know that at some point an argument will occur; the best we can do is try to keep it as civil as possible. So with Thanksgiving fast approaching, here are some suggestions on how to keep conversation polite and fruitful.

Hate the opinion, not the person

Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they are the devil incarnate.

This one seems obvious right? The problem is that we all tend to be pretty bad at treating someone with love when our opinions differ. Getting into yelling matches, little snide comments, or even choosing to unceremoniously break off conversation with someone just because we don’t like what they are saying is all disrespectful to the other person.

I am convinced that no one has ever been won over through insults. And if we’re not trying to win the other person over to our side, why are we even arguing? The whole point is to win people over to the side of truth. People are much more willing to listen to you and evaluate your position when they don’t feel like they are on the defensive, and you’ll probably have a better time too. The bottom line is we should promote conversations in a healthy manner; by not sacrificing interpersonal relationships.

Stick to your guns

This one seems like another obvious one, but you would be surprised. If you feel strongly about something, defend it. Be willing to go under scrutiny with it. Don’t just switch opinions at the first hint of opposition. No one wants to be around the person who switches sides just to be liked. We should be respectful but firm in our opinion.

Keeping our head down and staying quiet about topics that matter may be easier, but when we do this, we do a disservice to ourselves and the things we claim to believe in.

Be willing to learn

No one is going to want to talk to you if you aren’t even willing to hear them out. People enjoy conversation, they enjoy being heard. If we come to the table with a you-can’t-talk-to-me-about-this-because-I-have-already-made-up-my-mind attitude, we lose before we start. Be willing to learn. Be willing to listen. Even if you don’t agree, pull whatever you can from what they are saying. Give everyone a fair opportunity to speak what is on their minds. In doing so, you may just learn something new, either about the topic being discussed or the person.

Relax

Have fun this holiday. Don’t take everything so seriously and learn to let some things go. Afterall, it’s about family, not politics.