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Navigating through conflict this holiday season

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Let’s face it, the holidays bring out the best and worst in people. Whether it’s that distant cousin you have to tolerate at the holiday dinner, or the co-worker who tells the same annoying jokes every year at the office party, we are likely to encounter some type of conflict this time of year. Joyce Weiss is an expert in the conflict resolution business, and coaches individuals and companies through the process of healthy communications and interactions. Joyce helps people have those tough conversations during the day, so they get a better night’s sleep. She knows that we get what we tolerate!

Joyce offers these tips for healthy interactions this holiday season:

1) Respect Yourself

Before we can treat others with respect and expect the same in return, we first need to respect ourselves. It starts with us. Don’t feel guilty about asking for what you need. It is essential to your well being.

  • Ask for help at home as you prepare for guests. Do the same at work if you’ve been put in charge of a holiday event.
  • Take a nap to help recharge your batteries if you find yourself rushing around a lot this holiday season.
  • Don’t feel you have to say yes to every holiday invitation you receive. If you need a night off, take it.
  • Share the “goody” baskets you receive, rather than sabotaging your healthy eating plan.
  • Pause before you speak. Tempers and emotions are heightened this time of year so don’t engage in drama, don’t fuel the fire, and don’t suppress your emotions. Take a deep breath, and choose your words carefully before responding.

2) Set Boundaries with yourself and others

  • It is essential to set boundaries with yourself (not taking on too much or eating too much, etc) as well as with others. If your boss puts you in charge of a big event at work and you have a deadline (or 5) to meet on some key projects, be assertive and suggest ways to enlist the help of others or perhaps have something assigned to someone with more time available. That might mean suggesting your boss approve hiring outside help to cater an event, or putting together a committee to make sure all the bases are covered. With proper planning of your time and budget, you can accomplish the business goals and have a successful office holiday party.
  • Don’t take things personally. Sometimes people speak without thinking and don’t realize how their statement may come across to others. They may just be reacting or venting about something that happened at home, or the last phone call they had with a customer who bit their head off. It may have nothing to do with you, but you happened to cross their path at that moment and got an earful. If their comment is actually directed at you, address it calmly and ask them what you can do to make the situation better. The situation will likely resolve itself after a bit of discussion. However, if there seems to be a deeper issue involved which really must be addressed between the two of you, suggest that you both take some time to think about it and set a date and time to discuss it further. Click here to read Joyce’s tips for removing communication barriers. Click here for additional conflict resolution tips.

3) Take responsibility

  • Take ownership of any conflict you may have caused, whether it was inadvertent or otherwise. The sooner you take responsibility, the sooner you will resolve the conflict and preserve the relationship.
  • Make amends for any statements you made that offended the other person.
  • Discuss how your actions or failure to act impacted the other person and apologize for it. If it’s still possible to take corrective action, do so.

For additional information on conflict resolution and effective communication, read these articles from Joyce:

Comment below about any challenges you have at home or work during the holidays, or how you successfully worked through a conflict or communication problem.


Joyce Weiss, M.A., CSP is a conflict resolution consultant and accountability coach who provides bold solutions to boost the bottom line® for individuals and teams. She is the author of Take The Ride of Your Life and Full Speed Ahead. For more information about Joyce and her company, visit her website where you will find video blogs and podcasts on resolving conflict and interpersonal issues. Joyce also invites you to subscribe to her Newsletter to receive the Bold Solutions E-zine to improve your working condition.

Lori T. Williams is a 25 year attorney based in Birmingham, MI. She owns a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, and assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist for their situation. Lori is an active blogger and event host/facilitator within the legal community. She also maintains the following leadership roles outside her business: Advisor to the Women's Divorce Resource Center, Secretary and Membership Chair of the General Practice/Solo & Small Firm section of the State Bar of Michigan, Detroit Business Roundtable Co-facilitator, and Peer Group Leader for the Crisis Care Ministry (formerly known as Stephen Ministry) at Kensington Community Church. For more information, visit



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