When the holidays come around we dream of relaxing, fun, and meaningful connections with family and friends.
Then reality hits. If you’re human (and you are) the holidays are stressful.
First, how much should I spend? What can I afford?
Then comes the family and parties, like eating too much, dealing with in-laws, and even the fear of entering old family dynamics and conversational patterns.
Here are a few ways to support you in deepening your relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and new people that you meet at holiday gatherings.
Prepare yourself, especially if you’re an introvert.
- Listen to an inspiring or educational podcast while driving to your event. You can even meditate before while riding in the car, of course with someone else who is driving 😄. This will naturally raise
your emotional intelligence.
- You can also create an intention to have a more meaningful and fulfilling time at the event.
- Remind yourself that everyone has something going on even if they look like they’re having the time of their lives.
Managing discomfort or stress is a skill set that takes time to develop. Not everyone has proficiency in dealing with their own discomfort. Have compassion. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Drop the unsolicited advice. Listen and Feel.
Really listen to what people are saying. It’s easy to get bored and roll your eyes with some of those same old patterns of conversation at a family or work event and then you shut down. The usual suspects are:
How’s work? How are the kids? What are doing these days? ANY conversation on the weather (Boring).
Pay attention to how much/how little you talk. Share less if you’re a Chatty Cathy. Share more if you’re usually very quiet.
Share in a new way. Talk about a new hobby or something of interest you are enjoying (not advice).
When listening, pause. The person who doesn’t say a lot often has a lot to express and they just need someone who is patient and a good listener.
Fundamentally, we all want to be seen, received, and loved for who we are.
Ask Questions, Deepen the Connection
You have the opportunity to take a conversation to a deeper connection and intimacy. In our heart of hearts, this is what we all really want.
Question examples to foster connection:
“I didn’t know that about you, I would love to hear more.”
“Can you say more about what you mean?”
“What is something that’s really bringing you joy?”
When the connection is coming to its natural ending, you can say: “I really enjoyed our conversation.”
Wishing you a joyful, authentic, and loving rest of the holidays and New Year.
Your Good Fat Company Family