All those parties. All those encounters with people you’d rather not share space with.

How do you survive without losing your cool?

I was buying stuff for my kids when the cashier arrested me with her constant repetitive talk. As I was multitasking as usual, trying to not let my son climb out of the shopping cart while searching for my membership card, I heard her.

“You’re welcome,” she kept saying over and over.

It was puzzling at first. She would say it even when I didn’t say, “Thank you.” Although by the end, I sounded like her only I was repeating back, “Thank you!”

That simple exchange disarms even the most unhappy, grumpiest Scrooge. When someone comes at me with harsh criticism, I have only a few words to say, “Thank you for caring so much!” Because I’m sincere and the words are unexpected, I find that the comment works in my favor. People are kinder and everyone feels heard.

What do you do to help minimize conflict during the holiday season?

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