Reconnect over Friendsgiving dinner with these five questions:

Throughout the year, it’s easy to get caught up with work, school, packing lunch for the kids, and the list goes on and on. You might make half-baked plans with friends, flake on them hours before, and then the next thing you know, it’s been a month since you last touched base with them … or has it been two or three months? As we near Thanksgiving, consider reaching out to your friends and create a new tradition of celebrating Friendsgiving. For those new to the term, the informal holiday has emerged as both an alternative or an addition to Thanksgiving for many who are living far from home, prefer the company of their chosen family, or just want an excuse to hang out and enjoy a good meal with friends.

One of the keys to a successful Friendsgiving, of course, is lively conversation. To keep the awkward silences to a minimum, here are five ways to keep the chatter flowing throughout dinner.

  1. Children and fur babies: Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of telling the same stories about our kids and our pets over and over again. It’s the topic of conversation that keeps on giving year-round, and what better place to share these stories than around the Friendsgiving table. Does mittens still climb the walls (mittens, in this instance, is a cat)? How did Potato do in puppy class (Potato, in this instance, is a dog)? Tell me about Jamie’s game-winning goal (Jamie, in this instance, is a human soccer player who is apparently quite gifted)? Listen to the full response and trade these stories back and forth!

  2. Sports or entertainment: We’re in the beginning of that sweet spot where the football, basketball, and hockey seasons cross over, so there’s plenty of opportunities for sports talk. Or, if you and your friends aren’t into sports, ask your friends what they’re binge-watching these days or which podcasts they can’t get enough of.

  3. The food: If all goes well, all your friends at the table have contributed to the dinner in some way. Ask about their recipes, give them some compliments, and talk about some of your favorite dishes from your childhood. You might be surprised how many people have fond memories of canned cranberry sauce.

  4. Travel: What destinations are included on everyone’s vacation plans in the next year? Italy? France? Napa Valley? Even if your friends are just planning to spend more time at the lake house or perhaps a staycation next summer, open up the conversation and you might be surprised where their travels will take them!

  5. New Year’s Eve: Lastly, the new year is quickly approaching. Are your friends celebrating? If not, it might be a good time to connect with them yet again for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Start making plans over your Friendsgiving feast!