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12 Ways to Steer the Conversation So Everyone Is Happy on Thanksgiving

Perhaps this year even more than most, it is important at Thanksgiving dinner to connect authentically with love and tolerance.

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By Sherrie Campbell

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Being around family can be challenging, especially during the holidays. There is no group of people who can get us more instantly unnerved than family. You could invest half your life's savings into therapy -- good therapy, effective therapy -- and, within five minutes you find you're regressing under the stress of the same old enmeshed, craziness in your family that never changes. Before you head over the river and through the woods, give some thought to the following strategies to help you steer conversations towards the positive this Thanksgiving.

1. Be a listener.

Family dynamics naturally bring with them a certain amount of positioning and competition. People, especially family, can tell when you're not truly listening or engaged in what they're saying. They know you inside and out, so hold-your-horses before impulsively interrupting. It's common, that before someone has finished sharing, you're already eager to tell them about an amazing experience you've had. This creates a negative environment that is more about one-upmanship than about having a real conversation. Choose to listen before you speak. If your own story is important and interesting, then it will still be interesting in 10 minutes.

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