As an attorney, mediator, and conflict resolution coach in New York City, my goal is to keep you out of court and build your conflict resolution skills. Although I focus on employment and small business in my professional practice, I often get a lot of questions about how to address conflicts with friends and family members who have different views from ours. With the holidays fast approaching, this is often an even bigger issue. As lovely as the holidays can be, they probably come with several different conflicts.
Common Holiday Conflicts
Perhaps you have an office holiday party coming up and are concerned about the alcohol that might be served. As an employment attorney, I definitely see an uptick in sexual harassment complaints and concerns around this time of year. We all know that alcohol impairs our ability to make good judgments about what we say, how much we eat, physical touch, and more. For those of you planning the holiday parties, you might consider replacing cocktails with “mocktails,” or creative non-alcoholic mixes, at this year’s party.
Other common holiday conflicts are overspending and under-budgeting—both time and money. Do you really need to attend the holiday party of that person you once worked with for a few weeks? He or she might be lovely, and the party will likely be fun, but not if you are putting off other responsibilities, spending beyond your budget, skipping workouts, consuming more calories, getting less sleep, and otherwise failing to put your most basic needs first.
Of course, the holidays also come with travel stress for many of us. I will be taking a few long bus rides, a one-way flight, and a long car trip this year, and I am not looking forward to some of it. People come to the airports underprepared and overpacked, taking their stress out on the security and gate agents, who then take it out on others. Drivers forget to allow for extra time due to all the other people on the roads. Some bus passengers know the drivers don’t want to confront them, so they take whichever seats they want, travel while sick, take up more than their fair share of space, and play their devices without headphones. If we didn’t love the people we’re visiting so much, we would probably stay home and hide out.
Then, there’s the big conflict that a lot of people lately are commenting on and reaching out to me about: How do we deal with those family members and friends we’re going to be seeing that have differing views from ours? Maybe it’s your cousin’s new boyfriend, who strongly supports a political candidate that you can’t imagine anyone backing. Or perhaps your aunt will ask those very personal questions about why you are single, as if she doesn’t know the real reasons. Then, there’s the sibling who has never stopped competing with you and harshly criticizes everything you do, trying to make you look like a monster so they can look like the golden child. It can be exhausting. Why do we do this again?
Oh, right. Because we love them, for who they are and who they aren’t. Despite the challenges in these relationships, we know there is love beneath the chaos.
There’s no magic wand—no one-size-fits-all approach—to avoid all stress this holiday season (or ever). We probably don’t really want that anyway, because it would limit our growth. I want you to grow into the biggest possible version of yourself, which is why I developed a process to help you resolve the inevitable conflicts that will arise this holiday season and throughout your life.
DIY Conflict Resolution
In my DIY Conflict Resolution book, I invite you to make The Seven Choices to help you get more connected with where you are in a conflict and around a particular person. Once you’ve made your choices, you can reach out more effectively to that person and begin taking the recommended actions to resolve the conflicts you have with them—assuming they are willing.
I know that you care about your family members, whether they were given to you at birth or you chose them throughout your life. I know you don’t want conflict to keep distancing you from them. This is why I’m giving you free downloads of my book through the end of the year. I’m also giving you $30 off my online course called DIY Conflict Resolution.
- GET THE BOOK: Go to the DIY Conflict Resolution course page and scroll down to “GET A FREE DOWNLOAD OF THE BOOK” for details
- BUY THE COURSE FOR $30 LESS: Go to the DIY Conflict Resolution course page and click “Enroll in Course”. Then use AMPLIFY as the coupon code when checking out.
Let’s have a really powerful holiday season, and listen to people in new ways.
- Accepting Lifestyle Differences
- Resolving Conflicts with Adult Children
- Conflict Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
Not sure you can handle it on your own this year? Request coaching
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City-based attorney, mediator, and conflict resolution coach who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills. She helps managers and business owners talk about difficult topics, such as gender, race, religion, and disability. In addition to obtaining her law degree and license, Nance was trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been featured in a number of global publications.