3 Tips for Happier Holidays from a Mediator's Playbook

3 Tips for Happier Holidays from a Mediator's Playbook

Jingles may wish us happy holidays, but commercials and social media, by design, influence how we bedeck our homes, spend our money, measure happiness and practice traditions around holidays.  It can be overwhelming.

If we succumb to all the pressures buzzing around us, the reality is this: the main focus of the holidays is wiped out by stress, misunderstanding and conflict.  Here are a few personal stories as well as tips from my 20+ years as a mediator on how to avoid common pitfalls.

Seven Strategies for Drama-Free Communication

Seven Strategies for Drama-Free Communication

Most of us rely on auto-correction software, but how often do people check messages for conflict-inducing digs? You know what I mean, the ones that hit below the belt.  They’re loaded with passive-aggressive undercurrents of sarcasm.  They’re discounting, insulting or disrespectful.  They blame or deflect responsibility. They triangulate, lack compassion, strike a nerve, etc.  Even when the sender denies the intention of harm, knee-jerk messaging, particularly when sent electronically, can escalate quickly into drama and conflict, often with harmful consequences.

5 Ways to Respectfully Disagree Without Giving In or Giving Up

5 Ways to Respectfully Disagree Without Giving In or Giving Up

Our social harmony has been fragmented by mud-slinging and divisiveness.  Clashes between the left and the right have global reverberations.  Each side holds negative views about the other, leading to polarization, culminating in political “echo chambers.”  I admit, I've been guilty of this myself at times.  When I do engage with people on the opposite end of my political views, however, I find practical negotiation strategies lead to respectful and eye-opening debates.