This Thanksgiving is like none other.

Perhaps people are missing from your table because they don’t feel comfortable meeting in person due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, there may be people present at your table who have completely different views about the handling of the pandemic.

Whether you are sitting around the dinner table this Thanksgiving on zoom or in-person with your family, there may be uninvited guests showing up in your home that also show up at your conference table or in your zoom room.

Although the chairs are filled with actual people, other members around the table may be judgment, resentment, and shame. We don’t like to acknowledge these guests yet their presence can be felt.  Ever felt tension the moment you walk into the room or joined a zoom link? Then you know when uninvited guests are present.

How do you remove these uninvited guests?

Acknowledge them.

With a calm demeanor and a good mix of empathy in your tone of voice and demeanor, acknowledge “We have different perspectives and we all mean something to one another. Let’s focus more on what we have in common than on our differences.”

Being a healthy family or team requires seeing one another as separate people who have a right to thoughts, feelings, and opinions different from one another while at the same time have one thing in common – the desire for connection.

What does connection in action look like?

  • It’s asking questions with genuine curiosity.
  • Listening fully without looking for areas to disagree.
  • Having compassion instead of a comeback.
  • A smile that conveys caring instead of sarcasm.
  • Affirming instead of attacking words.

These are the ways uninvited guests of judgment, resentment, and blame are acknowledged and removed.

As Helen Keller said “The best and most meaningful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”  

At a time in our world when tensions are high, make the conscious choice to extend connection when uninvited guests show up at your Thanksgiving table or zoom room.


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