Holiday get-togethers can be lots of fun, and they can also be events where there are people on the sidelines, feeling lonely and left out.  The “meet and greet” part of a party can be excruciating for some people.

Years ago I discovered that when I was feeling left out, the best solution was to find someone else who looked left out, and ask them some questions about themselves or their thinking, to draw them out.  Once they responded, we both felt more connected.  I remember discovering some really interesting things to think about when I truly listened to what they were saying.  It may have been the beginning of my facilitation career, when I discovered what interesting things other people had to say!

Here are some possible open-ended questions to ask other people to involve them and make them feel connected. Let them trigger other ones that work for you and the situation. (Notice that none of them are about politics or religion and are intended to elicit positive responses.)

“How did you come to know (the host)?” Or “How did you come to work here?”

“That’s a lovely (article of clothing or jewelry).  Does it have a story of where you got it?”

“What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?”

“What’s a holiday tradition for you?”

“What’s one thing you’ve heard about that has inspired you recently?”

“What’s one thing you are grateful for this year?”

“What would you really like to do in the next year or so?”

“What is a holiday memory you cherish?”

“What is a topic you are pondering about?”

“What music do you really anticipate this time of year?”


Jo Nelson