I had a great Thanksgiving this year. In the morning we had brunch with a small gathering at our house and in the afternoon we had dinner with family at my sister in-law’s house. Both events were enjoyable and it was fun to see everyone and spend some time together. It was a nice Thanksgiving.
At my sister in-law’s, there was a family member who was absent, due to illness and declining health. Toward the end of the evening my sister in-law commented that it was nice not having the family member present because that way she didn’t feel on edge wondering if they were going get upset and start yelling, as they so often have in the past, thus turning what should be a fun family event into an awkward, tension filled evening. This was clearly a case of addition by subtraction; the absence of this family member made for a more enjoyable evening for everyone else.
As I reflected on this comment, I couldn’t help think of my interactions with others and wonder if there have been times where an event would have been enhanced by my absence. To think that the answer to this question would be “Yes”, is an awful feeling, especially if those answering are family and the people closest to me. I never want my absence from a gathering or event to be considered addition by subtraction.
This seems like a pretty easy scenario to avoid. If you want to be seen as someone whose presence adds to an event, then employ the following suggestions the next time you gather with family or friends:
- Be kind to others. Greet people by name when you arrive. Shake hands or give out hugs. Let others in attendance know you’re glad to be part of the event with them.
- Take the focus off of yourself and place it on others. Ask how people are doing and what they’re up to, and show an interest in their reply. If you know of somewhere they’ve been recently, or something currently going on in their life, ask them about it and then listen to and comment on their reply.
- Enjoy the moment and be present with the people you’re with. Put down the smartphone. Wait until you get home to check social media. Instead of being so eager to inform everyone who’s NOT at the event about what’s going on, engage and connect with those present. That’s the ultimate in social media.
As you attend different events this holiday season, do so with the intent of being someone who’s presence enhances the event for others attending. Let it be said of you that events which you attended were much more enjoyable because of your presence. What a great gift to give people this holiday season.