Heading home for the holidays can be stressful. Everyone wants to know what you’ve been doing with your life, how school or work has been going, if you’ve found someone special, and if you’re on a solid track.
Before you start sweating, here are three ways to prepare yourself for the conversations you don’t want to have at Thanksgiving, but most certainly will:
1. Think about the conversations you’re going to have and what you are going to say about the choices you’ve made. If you aren’t sure about your plans, don’t say “I have no idea what I’m going to do.” Instead, try “I’m actively exploring my options right now.” That kind of spin takes you from hopeless and lost to confident and proactive with some simple repositioning.
2. Know your audience and be aware of their “push” buttons. For example, your dad might care about how much money you’re making, while your mom might be more concerned about your happiness. Speak directly to their unique questions and concerns and they are sure to be more supportive.
3. Recognize what makes YOU happy and how you define success. Even though your definition of success may differ from others, it’s important to acknowledge the validity of all sides and respect how others might see the world – while impressing upon them how important it is for you to find a path of your own.
Remember, they love you. They don’t have to say it to mean it, and at the end of the day, they only want you to be happy.