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Introducing New People at Thanksgiving

If you can keep the drama to a minimum, it will be a lot easier to bring new people on board.

Here are a few ideas for dealing successfully with new people who arrive at family celebrations:
  • Be empathetic. Using empathy means that you can remember a time when you were new, how you felt when you were new, and what would have helped or did help on a first visit. Use what would have been helpful to you as a guide for what you can do to make the new person feel welcome.
     
  • Be accepting and be open to the idea of a new person and to the fact that the new person is chosen by the person who brings them.
     
  • Don't only focus on them "fitting in". It is also a good idea to find out about them and their traditions, and see if you can be inclusive to welcome them.
     
  • Keep in mind this person may not be there next season, so don't get carried away if you like them, or not.
     
  • People are nervous on the first time in a social situation - cut them some slack!
     
  • Be careful not to embarrass or draw too much attention to the new person. For the new person, being welcomed versus singled out is a very different experience. 
     
  • Don't excuse or apologize for the behaviour of other family members while at the event. Better to say, "Well mom has now made you eat everything on your plate, consider this a welcome gift," than to apologize for mom's behaviour. New people understand this is your family and that there will be new experiences and characters to make the evening interesting. 
     
  • Enjoy the holiday and be thankful for family, old and new - and the dramas that make each family unique.

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