Christmas can see us struggle with other people – people we don’t know; people we don’t like; and people who don’t like us.
Other people we don’t know
Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking for some of us. Firstly don’t get there late. You might think there’ll be more people to talk to, but a crowded room can be intimidating, and it can be difficult to break into established conversations and groups. Getting there early instead will give you a much better chance of talking one-to-one with other people.
For any awkward moments at the beginning make sure that you have some topics lined up – how they know the host or how long they have worked at your employers at a works ‘do’ are two obvious starters. Looking for areas of common ground means the conversation will be more natural.
Other people we don’t like
This is where you’ll need to use your Emotional Intelligence. Don’t just be aware of your emotions, but of how you might be displaying or betraying them.
One way of dealing with those negative feelings is to be warm to the people you don’t like. Welcome or greet them as you would a friend, and don’t make them feel awkward. That means thinking about your body language – mirror theirs, stand at an angle facing them, and keep a comfortable level of eye contact. They’ll feel included, but not confronted.
Just as importantly ask yourself why, and what it is that you don’t like about them. If it’s a belief or a point of view then make sure that you don’t let the conversation turn in that direction. If it’s their behaviour or a habit then make sure you’re not taking it personally when it isn’t meant that way. And if it’s a personality trait ask yourself why you don’t like – it might point to something that you don’t like about yourself, or something that you wish you could do.
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