Squashing 5 Common Holiday Arguments Here's how you and your spouse can combat 5 common holiday arguments through positivity. BY LAURIE PHUN
By John Dalog
Don't let stress get the better of you this holiday season. Find the positive.
“ Everyone, even your spouse, has a different expectation of what is private versus public. If you expect your mate to read your mind, youíve opened the door to a fight.”
The holidays can be stressful. Do you and your mate find yourselves involved in more arguments than usual during the holiday season? Do you encounter acquaintances and family members who have the uncanny ability to push your buttons and get in your face, even though you set out to steer clear of holiday strife? This year, you can survive the holidaysóand even betteróenjoy them! As a lawyer and couples mediator, I have observed the same dumb arguments that ruin relationships during the holidays, and year-round. Here are five smart comments you can rely on time and again to short-circuit an argument.
Here are the top five arguments that emerge around the holidays, and the smart responses you can use to reject conflict.
1. The Political Argument: "Youíre wrong. I donít want that flip-flopping jerk in the White House."
Smart Response: Donít defend, just deflect. Say: "Thatís your opinion and you have a right to it. But for now, letís agree to disagree and enjoy the party." By stating the obvious and rejecting the bait you sound wise without adding fuel to the fire.
2. The Financial Argument: "We canít afford that gift!"
Smart Response: Focus on facts. Say: "Letís sit down and go over the household cash flow." Without facts at hand, assumptions lay the foundation for an onslaught of disputes. By sharing the math about your expenses you will know what you can, and cannot, afford.
3. The Techno-pest Argument: "We have guests over. Get off that $%#@&*^ computer!"
Smart Response: Employ positive criticism. Say: "You know? We really miss your company out here. I like hearing what you have to say. Will you join us?" If your mate chooses tech toys over people this holiday season, donít complain, just explain. When phrased with flattery, youíll get what you want.
4. The Over-sharing Argument: "I canít believe you told your brother I am unemployed. I wasnít going to tell anyone until I find another job."
Smart Response: Create a border control. Say: "Before we go to the dinner lets agree on which topics are private versus public." Perhaps your recent health issues and job instability are things you donít want your nosy aunt to know. Everyone, even your spouse, has a different expectation of what is private versus public. If you expect your mate to read your mind, youíve opened the door to a fight. Avoid potential foot in mouth moments with a pre-holiday discussion.
5. The, "I Always Do Everything" Argument: "I have to prepare the food, wrap the gifts, watch the kids and greet all the guests while youíre busy drinking beer with your friends in the living room."
Smart Response: Ask for what you want. Be specific. Say, "There are three things Iíd like you to do for our holiday dinner: one, go to the bakery to pick up the fresh bread and rolls; two, when guests arrive, please greet them and offer everyone drinks; and three, when itís time to eat please help me bring the food in and out of the kitchen. Can you do that?" Research shows that getting an advance commitment makes the person more likely to follow-through.
With these five smart responses you can dodge unnecessary conflict so your holidays are what they should beóhappy!
Laurie Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, relationship expert, and bestselling author of "Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In," who appears on Good Morning America, 20/20, Fox News and CNN. Visit her interactive site at www.fightlesslovemore.com