Karamo Brown told Insider his tips for surviving tricky conversations around politics or the pandemic with family members.
The "Queer Eye" culture expert said you don't have to engage if you don't want to.
Also remember that you probably won't change anyone's mind with one conversation.
Brown said he wouldn't be seeing some family members this year because they "aren't taking this pandemic as seriously as me."
The coronavirus pandemic may have altered many people's plans this holiday season, but 'tis still the season for delicious food, merriment, and catching up with family and friends.
But with those catch-ups — whether virtual or in real life — comes the risk of difficult topics being raised with people whose views you don't necessarily share.
If there's one person who knows how to deal with these situations, however, it's Karamo Brown, psychologist, TV presenter, and star of Netflix hit "Queer Eye."
The Fab Five's resident culture expert spoke to Insider about how to cope with tricky topics around the holidays, be it politics or COVID-19, and it comes down to remembering a) you don't have to engage, and b) you're not going to change someone's opinion with one conversation.
You don't have to engage
Brown said it's important to remember you don't have to defend your beliefs.
"Sometimes when you get into these situations, you think, 'I have to engage with this certain family member, I have to defend my point of view,' but those are all ego statements," Brown said. "And anytime you speak from ego statements, I promise you it's never going to work out."
He continued: "Remember, you do not have to engage. It's OK to say to somebody, 'you know what, I'm here today to have a good time, and I'm going to go enjoy some pie. You have that conversation with yourself.' It doesn't make you disrespectful."
Accept you won't change someone's mind
If you feel like you really do have to engage, Brown said it's important to approach the discussion knowing you may not get the outcome you'd like.
"One conversation isn't going to change someone's mind, that's not how it works," he said. "It takes people time to absorb information, especially in the climate we're in where people have gotten so polarized on different sides."
Brown said the reason people get stressed or upset by these conversations is that they want a resolution which they can't get.
"They want closure and that's not going to happen," he said.
If you can accept that you won't get closure or a conclusion from the conversation, Brown said it takes away some of the frustration you'd usually experience.
Which ultimately leads back to Brown's initial question: Why are you engaging in the first place?
"If you know that this uncle is only going to fight you about a political party or an idea, why engage? What do you solve in that moment?" he asked.
Brown has decided not to see some family members this year
For his part, Brown said he will be keeping his distance from some people in his life this holiday season.
"I'm not excited about seeing family members because I don't trust whether they've got COVID or not," he said. "I want to connect with family, but I'll see y'all on Zoom because I have some family members who, in my opinion, aren't taking this pandemic as seriously as me. I'm not judging their choices, but I have to be responsible for my own."
Instead, Brown is inviting his family and followers to tune into his Holiday Spectacular, an all-digital event taking place on Instagram Live on December 17 in partnership with Zelle, which will see three local heroes awarded with $25,000 for keeping the holiday spirit alive.
Read the original article on Insider