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Navigating an Offensive Relative During the Holiday Season

We’ve all experienced it: An offensive relative during holiday gatherings. What to do: what to say, when to say it, how to say it.


Here’s a breakdown of how you could handle an offensive relative’s comments using the Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory. Getting your point across while preserving the relationship between you and your relative is most likely to be achieved when using a cooperating conflict resolution style. Of course, your response/reaction to an offensive relative will depend upon context – who’s in the room, who’s not in the room, do you have an ally/supporter, do you have an ability to leave the room, what is your prior history of trying to interact with your relative, etc. And you might consider and practice scenarios of the reaction your conflict resolution approach might generate. In our experience working in the realm of conflict, a cooperating conflict resolution style aligns with the work of experts such as Ijeoma Oluo in navigating microaggressions.

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