Are you stressed out by upcoming holiday parties?
If you answer “yes” to any of the following you may be able to use the suggestions below.
- Do you look forward to any holiday gatherings with DREAD?
- Do you sometimes think about canceling out on these events (or actually do so) or do you arrive late or leave early finding work or other obligations you “really MUST do”?
- If you are the host or hostess do you busy yourself more than really necessary with the food preparation, serving and cleaning up rather than being with your guests?
- Do you find yourself entertaining only out of obligation feeling “put-upon” and exhausted, perhaps even before beginning?!
- Or, if you are a guest do you find yourself helping the host or hostess pretty much throughout the time you spend at the event rather than socializing?
- As a guest at some of these parties do you find yourself lethargic, staring at TV, reading a magazine, playing with the dog or taking extended walks only for the purpose of avoiding the other people there?
- Does the time pass unbelievably slowly?
- Do you overdo food and/or alcohol due to nervous discomfort and to fill time or substitute for experiencing pleasure with the people?
- Do you find yourself wondering why these get-togethers are called festivities?
- Do you find yourself wondering if others are having the fun you’d like to be having?
If so you are undoubtedly feeling cheated. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FEEL CHEATED! This year you can gain control over your experiences and have more fun.
Some people actually find themselves feeling “under the weather,” sometimes even getting a bad cold or a virus not realizing that our immune systems react to the stresses of bad experiences with holiday celebrations. So, here is a thought on happier socializing and even, perhaps, BETTER HEALTH!
You may be someone who has not given a chance to the idea of creating change with the people with whom you celebrate holidays. Are you one of those who rarely has a “REAL” conversation at gatherings? If this sounds like it describes your circumstances how about trying something new this year that could cause you to enjoy yourself more. Your family and friends may be grateful and it actually COULD create lasting closeness you never thought possible.
Here’s the idea: Instead of staring at TV or doing other activities to avoid true contact when family and friends get together spend an hour talking about something other than work, sports or the food. It could prove to be the most fun you’ve had in a long time. Believe it or not some of the people from whom you least expect it have thoughts worth sharing. SO DO YOU! You may find others surprised and delighted with your opinions on the simplest or most complex subject. Even your elderly, semi-senile aunt thinks about things in an interesting way sometimes and has things to say that are worth hearing. Even young children have a way of looking at things differently that gets others to thinking. And they are entertaining with their innocent and often unique ways of expressing themselves when encouraged.
A way to get started could be a communication game such as Scruples or Charades or other communication games that are available. This could break the ice and lead to discussions about values and ideas rather than facts and boring topics that seem to be the same as what you hear at every gathering!
In other words, try something new. Instigate new ways of talking at parties. And be sure to LISTEN. That is, REALLY listen making eye contact and encouraging the speaker to be comfortable and to add more. Of course you need not keep listening to the dominator—you can excuse yourself—dominators don’t get offended!!
And one last suggestion about this new or expanded communication. RECONFIGURE YOUR GROUPS. That is, don’t stay in the usual conversational groups. Mix up the genders and ages. If you’re a guy don’t stay just with the guys talking about sports, investments and your work. And gals — don’t gather in the kitchen repeating the pattern of discussing only recipes, kids, clothes or jobs. MIX IT UP! Go to a different group. And encourage involvement of the quiet attendees and those who are new to your celebrations. Ask for an opinion or the relating of an experience from someone you normally don’t think is very bright, interesting or likable. Be ready to be surprisingly pleased. You can always move on if you’re uninterested in what’s being said. Give everyone a chance to participate in your new type of celebration!
We’re here to help if you or someone you know wants to call. Terry Hefter Associates, LLC – 1731 N. Marcey – Chicago (near North and Clybourn) – 312-280-1166