Opinion | How to Find Common Ground With Your Most Problematic Family Members


It’s holiday time again, and this year feels different. Unlike the shelter-in-place aesthetic of 2020’s holiday celebrations, many people are now vaccinated and hoping to take part in the sort of family and friend events that are more reminiscent of the prepandemic time. With that warmth and community, we all may find ourselves in another seasonal tradition: getting into an argument with people over the dinner table.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

Maybe it’s a longstanding rivalry with a cousin, or a nosy aunt asking about your biological clock — or perhaps the uniquely 2020-2021 disagreements over masking, vaxxing and who actually won the election. Whatever your flavor of argument, host Jane Coaston and special guest Dylan Marron are here to help. Gleaning tips and advice from Dylan’s podcast and forthcoming book of the same name, “Conversations With People Who Hate Me,” Jane and Dylan lay out how to engage empathetically with the people who disagree with you, and how to avoid classic pitfalls that keep the discussion from being productive.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Thoughts? Email us at argument@nytimes.com or leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. (We may use excerpts from your message in a future episode.)

By leaving us a message, you are agreeing to be governed by our reader submission terms and agreeing that we may use and allow others to use your name, voice and message.

“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez, Vishakha Darbha and Matt Kwong. It is edited by Sarah Geis and Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Andrea López Cruzado; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; engineering by Carole Sabouraud; additional mixing by Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.



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