I’m not very comfortable at parties.

I flit around like a hummingbird, never lingering with any one person. Or I latch on to one person in hopes of having a conversation that lasts all evening.

I’m probably an extroverted introvert, someone who’s outwardly game for a get together but inwardly reluctant to attend… and easily drained in a crowd.

This time of year is especially tricky.

On one hand, I enjoy celebrating the season. But big holiday parties aren’t my first choice for how to do that. As I’ve aged, I think my discomfort in that atmosphere might really be my longing to connect with people on a deep level.

We Have More to Share Than “Sound Bites”

For many of us, large groups can be exhausting, and endless small talk can feel empty.

I’ve skimmed the surface of relationships long enough. Now, in my 60s, I prefer meaningful interactions.

That’s why I value communities like Sixty and Me. And why I created my virtual women’s circles, a forum where a small group of women meet and discuss topics of interest in midlife and beyond.

In this holiday season, when I socialize, I intend to protect myself from the energy drain that too much idle chatter can bring. And to recapture that lost art of conversation, one person at a time. I have three ideas about how to do that.

Make Time for Self-Care

I love opening my home to guests. But it’s easy to overdo things during the holidays, to spread ourselves too thin.

If this starts to happen, steal some time for yourself. Five minutes to breathe, seven minutes to close your eyes, ten minutes to stretch… before, during, or after your gala. Your spirit and your body will thank you.

And if the guest bed is too hard for Cousin Frank or the tablecloth is creased, it’s okay. These things are not windows to your soul. So, let them go.

Be Selective of Your Company

Permission granted to say, “No, thank you.”

We don’t have to accept every invitation, especially those where we know we’ll drown in dialogues on topics of little interest or importance.

Yes, ‘tis the season of generosity. But it’s also the season of peace. And peace starts within.

Seek Out Uplifting Conversations

It’s so refreshing to converse with someone who isn’t just waiting for his or her turn to talk.

Every gathering, especially if it’s your own, includes at least one person with whom a conversation is enlivening. If not, tuck that away and remember it for next year!

We won’t solve world problems over appetizers and festive beverages. But a lively party and heartfelt exchanges can go hand in hand.

And those soulful interactions are the ones that energize us.

Everyone Craves Deeper Connections

It’s those deep, meaningful relationships that sustain us in the New Year and beyond. There’s no better time than the holiday season to find and nurture them.

‘Tis the season of togetherness, ready or not. So, grab your coat and get your hat, but leave the chitchat on your doorstep. And I’ll meet you at the buffet table.

What will you do to have more meaningful connections this holiday season? How do you engage with people on a deeper level? Please join the conversation!

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