Are you hosting or attending a holiday event? You and I know that getting together with people in person is even more precious these days, and that’s why we all want it to be a relaxed congenial event with time for catch-up conversations and discussions about life today.

It’s a perfect time to encourage people to share their Covid experience, and whether they were simply surviving, coping successfully, or even thriving. Inevitably, people will want to commiserate about the fast pace of change in every sector and sphere, including the pros and cons of zoom technology. Whether host or guest, you’ll appreciate the tone of the conversation if whatever you’ve contributed to conversations is appreciated and acknowledged.  Alas, the polarization in our country can affect the tenor of our family reunions, you might just run into social phenomenon that are unique to women. In the spirit of “just in case,” here are three problematic phenomena to prepare for:

First, Mansplaining is the tendency of a man to assume a woman doesn’t know something and he needs to explain the content/situation to her. It can occur when a man explains something to a woman in a manner that suggests she can’t possibly know what she’s talking about, even if she’s knowledgeable and possibly an expert. And opinions are just that, but they can lead to debates.
Mansplaining can feel patronizing, condescending, demoralizing, or downright insulting if there appears no recognition of the woman’s grasp of the content or her right to have feelings about a situation. The topic of Mansplaining in the workplace as well as in social situations is hot on the internet right now. For those visual thinkers, BBC Worklife and Kim Goodwin produced a chart to explain it to men in gaga, googoo terms that anyone can understand.

Second, there is mansplaining’s cousin, the talk over, the tendency for men to speak over a woman or cut her off before she can make her point. Third, we shouldn’t ignore the topic-changer which happens when a man (usually) ignores what a woman just said and changes the topic, making her feel invisible. She wonders, “Did I just say something?”

As the recipient of any of the above communication transactions, you have three choices; that is, you can ignore it, confront it, or use it as a “teachable moment.”

Kristi Hedges, a contributor to Forbes Woman, suggests 5 ways to address mansplaining, the interrupter, the talk-over, and the topic changer. She calls them:

  1. The Hip Check
  2. The Humorous Quip
  3. The Redirect
  4. The Outdoor Voice
  5. The Call Out
With her suggestions, you’ll be prepared and can take control of a situation nicely but firmly. Don’t rely on the wishbone to ensure that you’re seen and heard.

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