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Psychologist weighs in on how to handle tense conversations during the holidays

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11-20 Tough Conversations at Holiday Time

(WKOW) -- While gatherings around the Thanksgiving table will be much smaller this year, the holidays may still give way to some tense conversations about politics, or the election.

Shanda Wells is a behavioral health specialist at UW Health, and she says that holiday disagreements are nothing new and expects people to get heated, especially with what's going on in our world right now.

With that in mind, Wells says people don't have to change their approach to these conversations. Set boundaries, she says, and know where your limits are.

"Set that limit with someone and try to say, 'I appreciate that this is something you want to talk about. I'm not really in a space today where I feel okay doing that,' and change the subject." she said.

She also recommends not trying to convince someone to change their view, but instead try to genuinely hear them out.

Sometimes, if those approaches don't work, it's okay to take a break or excuse yourself from the situation.

That's okay if other people want to have those conversations and you aren't comfortable," she said. "That means you're not going to be able to have that moment with that person, that you might need to leave physically or you might need to do whatever is best for you or your family to take care of yourselves in that moment."

She recommends people try to do what they can to protect their own emotional integrity.

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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