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Simple Phrases that Will Help You Avoid Arguments

So many big arguments begin with small comments. How many times have you started a conversation on friendly terms, then wound up in some kind of dispute that you didn’t anticipate?

In my work as a family, divorce, and small-claims mediator, I’ve seen countless offhand remarks start a fight or add fuel to an existing fire. And I have found myself in plenty of situations where I’ve wanted to give someone (my husband, a colleague) what I thought was helpful advice only to inadvertently offend him or her.

The holidays, with all their extended-family gatherings, can be a verbal minefield. You’re either dodging nosy questions from some tactless relative over dinner (“Still dieting then?”) or taking out the stress of all that extra cooking and shopping on those dearest to you (“Do I have to do everything around here?”).

It doesn’t have to be that bad. Use these 10 go-to phrases to defuse potentially volatile conversations and help you get through the coming weeks?and the months and years to follow?in harmony.

(Photo: Michael Kelly/Stone/Getty Images)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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