The Survival Guide to Awkward Thanksgiving Conversations

Posted by Jolie Peters
(@Jolie Peters)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. It happens to be my favorite day of the year. How could you hate a holiday that encourages binge eating followed by an epic nap? However,  sitting around a table with the relatives you’ve become an expert at avoiding all year long doesn’t always leave us with the feelings of thankfulness. The dinner table turns from the epicenter of gravy to a microcosm of America’s divisiveness the minute someone says climate change or feminism. While these uncomfortable conversations are unavoidable, we’ve compiled a list of responses that will help defuse the arguments so that everyone can enjoy dessert in one piece.

1. Regardless of our differences, I’m still thankful for you.

Don’t let someone else’s ideals get in the way of what makes Thanksgiving so special. Remind the individual you’re arguing with that no matter how much you disagree, you’re still thankful for them. It may encourage them to hear your side of the story.

2. This conversation is making me uncomfortable.

Battle the beast of debate by exclaiming that the current conversation is making you uncomfortable, and excuse yourself from it.

3. I want to listen to your opinion, but only if you listen to mine.

The only way we can make real change in the world is to be empathetic to others. We cannot grow as individuals if we don’t try to understand where others are coming from. Instead of staunchly arguing your point, let your family know that you’re willing to listen if they listen to you. Both of you may learn something from one another.

4. Let’s agree to disagree

When the conversation has gone so far south that you’re past the point of no return, just end the conversation by agreeing that your difference in opinions is too big to combat.

5. I believe in science.

If your theories are backed by science, let your family know that. It’s a good way to come to terms with the fact that your core morals and foundations for thought are coming from different places.

6. Pass the Potatoes.

Defuse, defuse, defuse. The best way to jump in and stop an argument is by circling the convo back to focus on what’s really important, the food!

7. That’s Racist

Sometimes, you have to just call someone out. If they’re being racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, don’t bite your tongue for the sake of keeping things PG. Stand up for what you believe.

8. It’s not personal.

Sometimes arguing about big issues ends up feeling like a personal attack. If the person that you’re conversing with becomes defensive and angry, remind them that it isn’t a personal issue.

9. Say nothing.

Sometimes, it’s better to just keep your mouth shut.