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Christmas Conversations

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Christmas brings the opportunity to come together with relatives that you may not have seen all year. We reunite with families, friends and colleagues to celebrate. However, if there’s been a rift for some reason, it can be hard to know how to proceed. Is it indeed always ‘good to talk’ when you suspect that no one is really listening?

Pointing out the faults in others can be a heady drug, allowing us to feel powerful and virtuous. It has the added benefit of distancing us from our own perceived deficiencies. This is so tempting partly because the faults we see in others often correspond to the parts of ourselves we don’t like. But it can be like poking a wound, leaving scars on the psyche.

In his Red Hand files, the songwriter Nick Cave talks about discerning whether or not it is possible to have a conversation ‘in good faith’.

Can we engage with curiosity and openess to a person with whom we have disagreed? Sometimes, he advises, it is better to disengage if you feel that someone has made their mind up about you. As he points out, often the more strident and certain an opinion, the less you can be sure someone actually knows what they’re talking about. The difficulty is, often they seem as if they do.

Discerning whether it is possible to reconcile after a disagreement can be difficult. Deciding what we want to engage in and what we gracefully extract ourselves from can make all the difference. We hope you have a peaceful Christmas.

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