How to break it to the fam: You’re not coming to T-Day Dinner (NBC DFW)

How to break it to the fam: You’re not coming to T-Day Dinner (NBC DFW)

(photo courtesy: Debra Hunter Johnson)

The pandemic has spiked in many states. The CDC is issuing warnings about holiday gatherings.  That’s all fine,  it then it hits you: you have to break it to your family that you won’t be coming.

Afraid to face off with your mother or that demanding uncle?

Today, I recorded an interview on NBC DFW on how to break that  news to family.

What should you say?

It’s all about empathy and creating trust by leading with your why!

  1. Understand, Self-care is NOT selfish. First, understand that you have agency over yourself, and your decisions—and be ok with that.  So make your decisions and do not feel pressured.
  2. Soften the news by starting with your why, then share the what—that you won’t be able to come.   It’s psychological and it builds trust, loyalty and ultimately believers. This is a strategic communications tactic that doesn’t only work for products and services.
  3. Exercise empathy While selfceare isn’t selfish, Thanksgiving isn’t all about you—it is a time for family and friends—express understanding, but perhaps suggest that if everyone stays healthy this year, then gathering the next may find everyone happier and healthier in the long run. Suggest an alternative method, like a virtual  or outdoor gathering.
  4. If you absolutely have a problem saying no— follow CDC suggestions…get tested before you go, quarantine NOW (14 days at least) and advise everyone in the household you visit to do the same.  Wear that mask on the plane or take a road trip.  Mostly, BE SAFE!

Remember, this really is about the greater good—for you and your family and friends.

Airs tonight at 10 pm CT for those in North Texas. Catch it online at

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