Don’t Antagonize Everyone
Spending time with family can be stressful enough, what with all that history and differing opinions on just about every topic. But when you’re gathered around a Thanksgiving table filled with delicious food you want to eat, you really don’t want to rock the proverbial boat any more than you need to—there are mashed potatoes and your grandmother’s corn bake to enjoy, after all.
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Everyone just wants to eat in peace, and to do that you may need to self-edit your dinner conversation to avoid spats or full-on blowups among your nearest and dearest. Here are five topics that you should definitely not mention if you want to have a happy Thanksgiving.
1. The Election Outcome
No matter which camp you fall into, you likely have some strong opinions for or against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, campaigning will be over (thank goodness) and we will indeed have a new president elect. If your family was split between the two candidates, however, you’ll want to keep the political chitchat to a minimum, or stay away from it completely. This election has brought to light a myriad of issues and scandals that should be put to rest for the duration of the meal, at the very least.
2. Contentious Social Issues
From abortion to the Black Lives Matter movement, social issues typically have no place at a holiday dinner table. While you may feel strongly one way or another about these issues, other people may be completely apathetic about them, which may annoy you, and others may have the complete opposite opinion on these matters, which may infuriate you. Save the debating for another time, if ever.
3. Religious Differences
Talking about religion can be a beautiful thing—in your house of worship. Talking about religion at the Thanksgiving table among family members who may have various viewpoints on your and other faiths can be a complete nightmare. Say grace, if that’s your family’s thing. Then leave the topic alone after the amen.
4. Your (or Someone Else’s) Personal Life
Thanksgiving is not the time to put anyone on the spot about their life choices. Look, people want to eat, not have to explain to an entire room of people why they’re still single or why they got let go from their job. Putting someone in a position to have to defend him or herself is just plain rude and can come across as very antagonistic. Not only will you make the person in question feel super uncomfortable, you’ll likely make others feel the need to jump to his or her defense, causing conflict among the whole table.
5. Depressing News Topics
Unless they’re framed in a way that expresses how thankful you are for your own life, or you’re encouraging family members to donate to a worthy cause, it’s often best to steer clear of the dire situations that other people (and nations) are in around the world. While this advice doesn’t mean that you should bury your head in the sand and ignore others’ suffering, it does suggest waiting until after the big meal to delve into this kind of talk. Picturing other people starving in war-torn countries will only make those gathered around your table feel guilty—and then resentful of you for bringing the topic up.