Even joyous family gatherings can get tense when the conversation turns to politics. The Bipartisan Policy Center offers a guide for safely navigating political topics at your Thanksgiving table. Also: Start a gratitude practice at work.
You’re gathered around the Thanksgiving table with your family, enjoying a plate full of turkey and mashed potatoes, when you hear it: Uncle Joe and cousin Rita squabbling about their political opinions. Voices grow louder, tempers flare. The whole festive atmosphere turns sour.
To avoid spoiling the fun, many families ban political conversations from holiday gatherings. And while that might be the best route for some, it can also keep the political divide alive.
In the spirit of unity, the Bipartisan Policy Center created “The Bipartisan Thanksgiving Family Survival Guide,” a tool the group hopes families will use to talk through political differences.
“Thanksgiving is a reminder that there’s more that unites us as Americans than divides us,” the guide says. “After all, if we can’t discuss important issues with our loved ones, how can we expect our leaders to work together?”
With political trivia, team-building exercises, and conversation starters—such as naming one thing about American democracy you’re grateful for—the guide aims to steer discussion away from division and toward a civil exchange of ideas.
And if the talk does turn tense, instead of arguing, take a step back from the conversation. Head into another room or take a walk to get some fresh air, cool down, and settle your stomach before returning to Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie.
Practice Gratitude at Work all Year long
— Inc. (@Inc) November 26, 2019
Speaking of giving thanks, expressing gratitude at the office is, of course, common courtesy, but it also goes a long way toward keeping a team working well together. That’s why growth strategist Gene Hammett suggests instilling a gratitude practice year-round. “A year-round version of Thanksgiving can resolve—or preempt—a lot of hard feelings,” he says on Inc.
So, make gratitude visible. “Designate a wall or dry-erase board as your shout-out corner,” Hammett suggests. “This is where people should express gratitude for teammates’ efforts, publicly recognize big wins, and even show appreciation for little things.”
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