With Thanksgiving behind us, we are now officially in the holiday season. Your calendar may already be booked with gatherings with family, friends, and coworkers.

Some gatherings you may be looking forward to attending. Other gatherings you may be dreading and are attending due to obligation.

If you find yourself dreading a gathering because you may not know many people, here are some conversation starters:

How do you know the host?

Where have you traveled that was most memorable?

What are your top three favorite movies?

Which shows are you binge-watching?

I tend to stay away from asking about someone’s family unless they bring it up first — you never know if someone is going through a divorce. I also stay away from politics and religion.

Other than a lull in conversation, I dread being trapped in a conversation with one person. There’s never an easy way to leave, especially if the topic is not something I want to discuss. Here are a few getaways I’ve learned over the years:

Introduce them to someone walking by you.

Excuse yourself to go to the restroom.

Express gratitude for meeting them and explain you need to find your spouse or friend.

If you have too many dreaded gatherings to attend, you may want to re-evaluate why you are accepting these invitations. Life’s too short to spend with people you don’t even want to be around, especially during the holidays.

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Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature, and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”