How to help your loved ones during the holidays: start a conversation
When the holidays are tough for someone you care about, it can be tempting not to talk about it—to plaster on a smile, keep the energy high, and avoid saying anything too heavy. But that’s often the opposite of what your friend needs. According to Sheila Heen, co-author of Difficult Conversations, starting a real conversation about what your friend is going through may be the most important gift you can give them.
Maybe you don’t know what to say. Maybe you’re worried about making your friend feel worse. But they likely want to hear from you. In fact, one of the top ways people going through a hard time say their friends could help: by listening to or asking about their feelings.1 Saying something tells them that you’re thinking about them and you care. Tiptoeing around the elephant in the room won’t make it leave. Acknowledging that elephant is the first step toward kicking it out.
Here’s some advice for getting started: