THE BLOG
11/11/2013 03:49 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

In True Holiday Spirit Turn Adversaries Into Allies

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You can be the wreath that encircles others with genuine warmth.

1. Vividly Praise Them in the Presence of Those Who Matter to Them

Taylor Swift graciously accepted her CMA Pinnacle award on television by thanking country music friends George Strait, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley by name. She turned and looked at them, then specifically, self-deprecatingly said what she had learned from each of star. For example she said, "Brad Paisley, who I toured with for nine months... I sat on a speaker by the side of the stage and watched him every single night and he was funny, and I'll never be that funny."

2. Adopt the Attitude That You Want Others Around You to Have

"A two-year-old falls down unexpectedly. He isn't hurt but instinctively knows he wasn't supposed to fall," writes Bob Burg in his idea-packed new book Adversaries Into Allies. "He looks at Mom and Dad for an interpretation of what happened. If they laugh as though it's funny, he'll probably laugh. If they panic and act upset, he will most likely begin to cry. In either case, Mom and Dad unintentionally set the frame that led to the outcome," suggests Burg.

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We make that framing choice, consciously or not, many times everyday in our interactions with others. For example, the owners of the above business positively framed their request using unifying humor in the language on their outdoor sign. More people report feeling down than up during the Christmas holidays. Each time you meet someone in person or online, consider that you may be the only angel in that person's life right now. Set the situation for them to feel cared for, in that moment.

Holiday Hint: In every interaction this holiday, remember that healthy, happy marriages, according to John Gottman, usually have a "magic" 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions -- so why not attempt to exceed that standard in all your relationships? Practice affirming their positive side and letting negative comments or behaviors slide. Be their soft shoulder.A warm smile tends to beget a smile in return.

3. Brash Friendliness Pushes Us Back Yet Warm Geniality Pulls Us In

A warm smile tends to beget a smile in return. Yet an effusive, over-the-top laugh and wide grin, for example, may cause an introvert or someone who has just gone through a trying time to back into their shell. So bring out the friendly, expressive part of you that's close to the energy level of the person you are with. Then you are more likely to close the gap of connection rather than widen it.

4. Be The Gift They Are Happy to Receive

Some people just don't act right, like you. That's probably the biggest cause for friction. Turn that around this holiday with Burg's key insight. While it's extremely difficult to change what others believe you can often avoid conflict, or turn around a fractious situation and sometimes even sway others if you are willing to "work within their belief system."

Burg cites The Sages of Talmud: "Say little, do much, and greet everyone with a pleasant countenance" then advises that, "instead of talking a good game, actually play a good game."