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Make your relationships stronger this holiday

A lot of people have tips about how to survive the holidays when you have major disagreements. That’s important in this era of culture wars, but not good enough, that means your relationship is frozen. Instead, I want to focus on how to thrive and grow in a relationship with someone you care about but fundamentally disagree with.

I am going to build on what I wrote last month in honor of Thanksgiving. All of these tips are based on the same social science theories behind what I write in my marketing blog and in my book Marketing Landmines. 

Just to review, I suggested last month that you identify a moral foundation (as Jonathan Haidt has named it) that that person is strong on and tell them you admire them for how enthusiastic they are about that value. Be sure it is one that they care about and isn’t just one that you like.  If you are talking to someone who is conservative, your choices are Belonging (or what Haidt calls Loyalty), Respect for Authority, and Sacredness/Purity.  Then ask non-directive probing questions like tell me more, or what makes that so good for you. Hopefully, if you did that, that helped to build a bridge in your relationship.

But this month, I want to suggest taking this a step further.  I want you to then switch to another moral foundation that is strong for them.  (Again, if they are conservative, use the list in the above paragraph.) Use that as the basis for asking new questions.  For example, if you used their dedication to a group they belong to as a topic, ask about the leaders are of the group.  Ask for the ways in which the person admires them.  (That’s Respect for Authority.)  Ask what the leaders do for the group.

This is going to help you become more fluent in the value system of the person you talking to.  It’s important to truthful, to only say things that are valid for yourself, but you should also withhold judgement of the person at the same time.

I really want to know how this works out for those of you who try it. I am in the process of writing a chapter for my new book which will include a chapter with steps like this one, to use in your personal life. Please message me and tell me your story of what worked and didn’t work so I can alter the chapter.


Also, if you want to be an advanced reader of the workbook I am developing with these steps, let me know!

This is the last blog post of the year for me, I am taking a break for the holidays. Look for more marketing posts next year, but on a biweekly schedule for 2020.

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Karen Tibbals @KarenTibbals

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