How to Survive Holidays with Family

Well happy holidays everyone. And also ugh, the holidays. If you're heading home to family, there's
a good chance politics is going to come up at some point. You might be dreading seeing relatives who
voted for Trump, and feeling frustrated after this election. If only there was a way you could use the
holidays to help your relatives see things from your perspective. Well there is! Thanks to science. Researchers have demonstrated some powerful
ways to connect with people and understand each other. These techniques were proven effective with
marriage equality, with the civil rights movement, even in business negotiations. One of the pioneers was Marshall Rosenberg
who broke it down into four steps. Marshall also tended to do a lot of demonstrations
involving hand puppets, which is why we remember him fondly in photos like these. So: out of those four steps, step one is the
hardest: listening. You're going to have to listen to your family. And then recap what you're hearing so they
know you're listening. When you hear your uncle say "Trump won't
do anything to undermine gay marriage," don't argue, just recap: "it sounds like you really
trust Donald Trump." Why are you listening so much? Because the more they talk, the more open
they'll be to what you have to say when you get to step two: Feelings. That's all. Just feelings. Your feelings, their feelings, just talk about
feelings. "Feelings. Nothing more than feelings." Ask them, "are you feeling confident about
Trump?" or "do you feel relieved the election's over?" And then tell them, "I'm feeling nervous about
politics" and "I feel exhausted from all the news." You can talk about what's making you scared
and angry. And relatives might want to argue with you
— but resist the urge to argue back. For now, you're just talking about your feelings. Why do we care so much about feelings? Because that's what gets us to step 3: Talk about needs. Not short term needs, like I need my family
to denounce Trump; but big general life needs, like I need to be safe. Or I need to be connected to people. Or I need to trust people. The goal here is for everyone to see that
what you need and what they need are pretty similar. It can be hard to get people to their fundamental
needs. But simple questions like "why" and "how"
can do the trick. Ask your family why they voted like they did,
and how they think Trump will meet their needs. It may take a couple whys and hows to get
from "because he'll make America great again" to "because I want security for my family." But the goal here is to find your common ground. Chances are you're in agreement about at least
some fundamental needs. So if they bring up security, then you can
talk about how Trump's appointments make you feel unsafe. So once you've listened, talked about feelings,
connected over needs, you're finally ready for step four: The Ask. Make it a question, because people are more
likely to respond to requests than demands. "Would you be willing to read an article about
why I'm so worried?" or "Would you be willing to meet my partner?" or "Would you put this
bumper sticker on your car to support me?" Make it specific. And remember to go through those first three
steps before you get to the ask — they'll be way more likely to say yes if you've been
talking. These requests might seem pretty small. But they're the start of a process, a dialogue
that will continue over time. We know this works because we saw it with
marriage equality. The research there showed that listening to
people and then finding common ground helped them realize that same-sex couples want the
same things out of marriage that they did. And that changed the way they voted. And maybe your relatives already support LGBT
issues. A lot of Trump voters do. This is a perfect opportunity to let them
know how their vote hurt you. Now I'm getting these four steps from Marshall
Rosenberg, but he didn't invent them. These have been tried and true for decades,
whether they come from a civil rights mediator. Or Andrew Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and
Influence People," which is all about getting people to say "yes yes" throughout a conversation. Or from David Fleischer, who led research
on marriage equality. These steps don't always work. But they're your best bet for making positive
change at the next election. And there is one technique that definitely
doesn't work: calling family names, accusing them, and making demands. By all means, save that for when you're dealing
with the government. But when it's family, telling them they're
wrong probably won't get them to change their mind. Science shows that the best time to prime
people for an election is when the election isn't happening. If you want to flip Congress in 2018, you
can't wait til 2018. And if you want to elect someone who respects
your rights in 2020, you can't wait. This holiday is your first, best chance to
do something positive for your rights, so let's get to work. Also, it helps to bring pie, so give that
a shot too. Thanks for watching. Subscribe for more videos and let me know
your thoughts. I'm @mattbaume on Twitter. You can also subscribe to my podcast, Defining
Marriage, for a weekly chat for what's happening with LGBT rights, particularly marriage. Now if you'll excuse me, it's turkey lurkey
time. Tom Turkey went away but he just came home. What?

31 thoughts on “How to Survive Holidays with Family

  1. The idea of trying to pull this off with my family seems pretty insane to me. Recently when brother started telling everyone he was a white supremacist now and I got mad about it my mom called me a free speech suppressing Nazi. I think I need a book it tells me what to do when your family are just morons

  2. Matt I know this is late but I want to thank you. I've watched this video a while ago and I will admit to thinking it wouldn't work. However today while I was visiting my father who voted for Trump we started talking about politics and LGBT rights. He's always been one of those guys who supports my right to be gay but not the rights of those whom he isn't a family member of. Anyways I was listening to him talk about how he as a straight white man feels scared, in the past I've always just out right dismissed it as insanity, but this time your video popped in my head. I told him that "I understand you may be scared but I as a gay person am scared because of the rise of hate groups in America and the rise of hate crime against LGBT people. I'm scared because I see the judges the GOP elects and how establishment members of the GOP reacted to my gaining if rights when it comes to marriage equality." He laughed it it off at first but as the night went on he got quite and later thanked me for saying that and told me he never thought of things from that prospective. He told me he has a lot of thinking to do. I have the experience with edge lords online that saying things like that will only get you ridicule from Ben Shapiro types saying facts don't care about my feelings or something. But I can say first hand now that this works and even if someone mocks you for it to your face, when the computer screen turns off and they have time to reflect they'll be thinking about it, and though you may never see the change slowly but surely it is taking place. So thank you again Matt for this wonderful advice.

  3. My ancestors are all dead. So I'll no longer be guilted into a 500 mile drive to eat with socially incompatible people.
    I never felt unwelcome exactly. Though it might have been different if I ever had a partner and the family were forced to see me as older than 14. I'll never know.

  4. Ok if your a trump voter and you say your an LGBTQ allied than let me out it into perspective for you you've just joined a group that's willing to let us die while slow painful death while smiling at us for no reason at all.

  5. there's a high possibility I'm the only athiest in my whole family. Even distant relitives. Thank god I'm aussie and don't do thanksgiving as I'll just get akward. Sadly there's also a higher possibility I'm the only gay in my family.

  6. Excellent. I haven't been invited to a family event in decades. My family, that is. When his mother was alive, she ALWAYS wanted us to share whatever holiday with them. They are dead, my husband died last summer, and I am dead to my blood family. And you know something? I really don't care. That's what friends are for, as someone once sang. And now if you'll excuse me, I must prepare for a daylong feast and celebration that includes incredible food, lots of fun conversation (Drumpf has been banned from the table), a quiet moment to remember friends no longer with us, and by mutual consent (like the question had to be asked) no football. Sometimes you are forced to change your life; sometimes it's just what you needed.

  7. Step Pie: So it the step between #3 and #4? Not a bad idea. Talk about the hard stuff first, than hand out pie before you get to the concrete ask.

  8. I just wish more of us had relatives who would respond to this at all. There's no starting even this when you live in a "everyone who isn't straight deserves to die and burn in Hell" environment and you're not supposed to act as if anything the town doesn't approve of exists anywhere other than the "evil liberal" areas.

  9. Thanks for posting this. I won't be with my family this year, which is probably for the better. The tough part for me, is I understand and agree with the tactics, but I feel like I've done that for the last 20+ years with my family, and I'm just tired. Tired of putting the energy into it, when I don't think it will ever make a difference. So, my inclination is to just give up.

    But I don't think that will really happen. I'm not built like that. Sometimes, I wish I was. I could just say fuck it and walk away. I'm an optimist and also suffer from a sense of indignation when people or groups are wronged by the majority. So, I tend to speak up and out.

    I'll try to keep up the good fight, but man it's exhausting. I'm sure you can relate after all you've done. Thanks again.

  10. Great tips for bridging the gap. I think many gay people such as us moved away to liberal bastions in order to live our lives. I moved to West Hollywood about 20 years ago, so while my views got broader and more liberal, the views of my family back in (gulp) Oklahoma and Arkansas did not progress quite so much. I do have to say that, although they are all Christians and I am a Gaythiest, I do have their unwavering support and respect when it comes to my being gay, so I really appreciate their views on that topic. Politics and religion, however, are a different story. They are pretty distraught that I'm an athiest, and lean conservative on politics. I believe they are conservative because they don't really understand politics the way I do. I have become uber political since moving to LA, becoming active in Prop 8 marches and all…they take the lies of the right at face value, and Faux News is #1 in the bible belt, of course.
    Well, at least they are supportive and open-minded about my being gay, and we do love each other unconditionally, so I understand how fortunate I really am.

  11. In our case we're doing Thanksgiving with a friend. Why they hell not pick people you can commiserate with. Besides most of my family – they're pretty much rotting in the ground now.

  12. I've actually talked about a similar thing in my psychology class. Very helpful advice for someone who's whole family voted trump. Thank you for posting and have a wonderful holiday! πŸ™‚

  13. In my family we rarely vote and tell. So nobody really knows each other's political views. My sainted grandmother use to say discuss not religion nor politics during dinner.

  14. Awesome video and very helpful. I'm going to sugarcoat my red-state family Thanksgiving with a Martha Stewart cheddar cheese crust apple pie! xoxo KC

  15. Thank God I'm an only child and have no parents. I don't have to deal with this crap. I'll be happily alone over the holidays. Yeah!!!!! πŸ™‚

  16. ohhhh man… Im canadian but my small extended family is pretty conservative, and i'm gay, not out to them yet but looking forwards to some juicy discussions

  17. I have like, one family member who I don't get along with and is very right-wing and it's a grandfather who I hardly saw anyway. He's also married to a very religious woman, but shockingly they were (at least outwardly) totally fine with me being trans. I don't get it at all, but I've never mentioned it lest the conversation got exceedingly awkward.

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