Planning Your Holiday: Which Is Preferable? Conflict or Loneliness?


Choosing Conflict VS Loneliness This holiday

Thanksgiving is this week, and that means travel and family and food and drink... and conflict. The holidays can be tough. 

When a group of individuals (even a family) comes together, perhaps conflict is inevitable. And conflict stinks.  

It might be tempting to skip the family gathering and just spend the holiday alone. But loneliness isn’t much fun either. So which is better? Conflict, or loneliness?  

The answer might surprise you.  

People will go to great lengths to avoid unpleasant encounters, but it turns out that loneliness is probably worse for your mental health. Loneliness has been identified in long term studies (for example, the Harvard Men’s Study) as a primary risk factor for a life of un-happiness. Community predicts wellbeing. But what if that you are in conflict with the people around you? Is it better to be alone in that case?  

Research shows that loneliness is probably worse (check out the UCLA Loneliness Scale), and that even an unpleasant way of connecting may be better than a life of isolation.

Of course, that’s not to say that enduring time with toxic or abusive loved ones is preferable. But if your family is simply frustrating, you might be better off spending time with them anyway.

So this holiday, when you’re struggling to push through the difficult parts, remind yourself that gathering together is good for you, even when it’s less than perfect. 


Posted on November 19, 2018 .