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7 Smart Ways to Behave When You’re Going to a Holiday Dinner

The beloved family reunions. And how we survive them

Holidays are coming. And we all have our associations when it comes to this part of the year. For some, it’s the best time with all that celebration and decorating. For others — it could hardly be counted as something pleasant.

Why so? Family dinners.

And just in a second, the ‘best’ memories have reappeared, and maybe your hands became a bit sweaty. At some point, we all have felt awkward or shy, isolated in a corner or even a bit (or not a bit) pressed by an aunt or an elder cousin, who couldn’t stop talking about how cute their babies are.

Breath out! With our tips, you’re going to do much better this time. So, are you ready to dig in?



1. Get out of your comfort zone

First, you need to show your presence. So yeah, it would be best if you came to that dinner, and in a good mood. Your optimistic vibe will spread across the room and make the first impression.

Then, you need to show your intentions with your voice, gestures, and facial expressions. How?

Take a look at How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman — there’re some interesting thoughts about why our attitude comes before our words. And how can we use it to our advantage?

Ask yourself, ‘What do I want, right now, at this moment? And which attitude will serve me best?’

Nicholas Boothman

This book will show you the power of communication, which you can use not just with your family members.

2. Be friendly, but don’t hide how you feel

You won’t be surprised, but people can’t read minds. And, unintended, they can hurt others by bringing something up or asking ‘wrong’ questions. Thus, it would help if you ground some boundaries, especially when conversation makes you uncomfortable. But you should explain how you feel and what makes you think that way.

Politeness and honesty are the main ingredients every family’s dinner dish should have.

3. Try to (re)find the connection

While talking, try to find something you share. Something from the past would be perfect. It requires positive emotional value and needs to be strong enough to keep your and your companion connected.

Maybe you used to spend late hours watching films together with your elder cousin when you were kids. Or you both liked bicycles and had arguments about who is a better rider.

That’s it. Use such memories to reconnect with your family member when you’re one-on-one. It’ll help.

4. Listen to understand, not just to hear the words

You know, it happens with all of us. We’re listening. We’re deep in a conversation. Trying our best to be focused — and at one moment can’t even find the correct answer or word when it’s our turn. Shame, right?

After reading 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work — Anywhere by Bento C. Leal III, you’ll be lucky not to have this problem anymore. And to become an excellent listener who won’t miss a word and will know how to look beyond them.

5. Joke it off a bit

A little joke could be a perfect addition or an ending to your story. Yet, this tip goes with a bit of a warning — not everybody has the same sense of humor. So it would help if you found a neutral banter ‘zone’ — and used it at a good time.

You can also prepare some jokes based on the latest holiday dinners or interesting news and casually bring them up.

6. Turn the spotlight on the other person

Feel free to switch the speaker if you don’t want to talk about yourself anymore but still feel a lot of interest on your back. How to do that?

Leil, the author of How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, reveals the simple technique that will help you rest from all the talking and also be remembered as a lovely companion. She calls it ‘The Swiveling Spotlight’ — and it works every single time.

The idea is to listen more than talk. To ask questions and to pay attention to the details. To keep all the shine on another person — that’s how you’ll earn the captivation. People love to talk about themselves.

7. Hug them

To build a better connection — hug your cousin, granny, or uncle. Even if it’s not your tradition and you don’t spend hours casually talking and don’t meet up often. Hug them during the conversation because it’ll make you both feel closer to each other — and it’s something that you’re trying to achieve here.

If you want to learn how to become a better listener, storyteller, friend, leader, and better whomever you want to be — we promise to encourage you all the time. Our app has everything you need to achieve your goals: structured juicy information, enjoyable visuals, and, of course, — a bit of fun!

Headway is like a friend in your pocket who’s always there for you to give a daily dose of inspiration and an easier way to get what you want in life. You’ll have access not only to more than 1,000 book summaries but also to exciting challenges, entertaining exercises, and a community of those who can help you grow. So download the Headway app — let yourself become a better you!

P.S. You can also discuss with your family the books you’ve read with our help and how cool they are. It could be a great topic.

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