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Holidays, | 07.17.21

Ways to Connect with Friends and Family that Don’t Involve Food

No matter the time of year, food can be the main centerpiece of connecting with friends and family. For example, if you’re headed to an outdoor gathering, expect BBQ and ice cream. If you’re going to a birthday party, it’s safe to say there will be pizza and cake. And depending on the customs and traditions of your friends and family, you can expect a certain food or drink to carry meaning and importance for so many other occasions. 

So it’s safe to say that a change in our eating also comes with a change in the way we relate to others on these special, and even more, ordinary occasions. With food no longer acting as the activity or talking point, we may feel like there’s a void or emptiness. It may feel uncomfortable, or it can feel like we’re missing out on something important. 

The real struggle comes when we attach a story to this discomfort. Not only are we feeling uncomfortable, but we may tell ourselves that we’re “outsiders” or that other people are judging us for our decisions. This story can intensify the feelings and discomfort we’re feeling, and may even lead us to sacrifice what’s best for ourselves in the name of connecting with others.

But here’s the truth – there are so many other ways to connect with friends and family that don’t involve food…. we just may not be used to practicing them. Here are a few you can try out:

  • Sharing a funny or meaningful memory or story
  • Playing a card game or board game
  • Trying a new sport or activity 
  • Ask someone to teach you something, like a new skill
  • Teach someone else a new skill
  • Help someone with a project they’re working on or ask for help
  • Make plans for the future, like a fun trip
  • Share things you’re grateful for in your life or in your relationships
  • Watch a show or go to the movies
  • Go on a hike
  • Talk about your thoughts on a recent news event or ask for others’ opinions
  • Talk about a frustration or a joy you had this past week

This list is just a start. Think about all the amazing – and maybe even more meaningful ways – you can connect with your friends and family when the easy-go to (food) is no longer on the table. Now your loved ones can think back on some real quality time, not just “How great was the cake.” Your goals and priorities don’t need to be sacrificed to have this meaningful connection with others.

Want more support? Check out Molly’s youtube channel and subscribe to the Sunday Love Letter to get support, information, and motivation on your journey to create a loving relationship with food. 

Photo by Marissa Price on Unsplash

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