It’s almost that time of the year when families gather together to feast and express their gratitude. For many people, Thanksgiving is one of the only times of the year where all members of the family, both immediate and extended, come together at the dinner table. Therefore, there is a possibility of seeing uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. that you haven’t seen in a long time who may have many questions for you or want updates on your life. This Thanksgiving, there are a few topics that may come up, but should be avoided for the sake of unnecessary arguments and awkward feelings.
It is seldom that every person in a family has the exact same political views; it is also seldom that every person feels the same way about politics. Some people may feel as though politics are directly affecting their life either positively or negatively. Others may not pay any attention to what is going on in the world of politics today. However, this is one subject that can spark a debate in a matter of minutes. On a holiday that is meant to bring people together, the last thing that anyone wants is a fight about political views at the dinner table— not the right time or place.
If your significant other is treated like family, there is a chance they might be in attendance at your family dinner. Depending on both the status and the length of your relationship, there may be a certain question you already anticipate being asked: “When should we expect a little one?” The truth is, this question should never be asked because no one knows what couples go through in terms of trying to have a baby. Asking this may spark a world of emotions in a couple who has the desire but has been unsuccessful in the process, and it may spark annoyance in couples who simply are not planning on it. It’s never a fun topic to discuss unless someone is already pregnant, so it is better left avoided.
- Plans After College
Thanksgiving is one of the few times in a year when college students get to go home for a longer period of time. As stated before, family members who haven’t seen students in a long time will probably want to badger them with questions about college, majors, plans, jobs, etc. As a college student, it is already stressful to think of these things and try to plan everything out on your own— so explaining it to others is even more frustrating, especially when questions arise that you have not thought of yet. A lot of students might not have a plan yet, which is fine, but feel very pressured and discouraged when asked about future plans. If you are family, then you will most likely follow the students on their path throughout life and will be able to see for yourself what they choose to do. There is no point in putting stress on anyone while they figure things out.
- Family Gossip
As obvious as it may seem to avoid this topic, people would be surprised by how much tea family members spill at Thanksgiving dinners— about other family members. This goes back to the point of Thanksgiving being a time of gathering and giving thanks. The dinner table should be surrounded by good vibes, but these can die down once gossip starts. If you have information about someone, want to confront someone, or anything along these lines— drop it. There are a time and place, especially for grown adults, to handle matters or to share their drama that is not on Thanksgiving.
For a lot of people, their family is mixed in age. The table may consist of family members varying in age from as young as a toddler to as old as 90+ years. Interestingly, people may have been raised to follow a common religion, but as the younger family members grow over time, they may feel differently. There may be people at your dinner table who you think are as religious as you or follow the same religion as the rest of the family, but in reality, they have had their own views for quite a while. This might not be something they discuss in order to save themselves from arguments and questions, so speaking on religion may put them in an awkward position. Be sensitive to people’s feelings and beliefs, and don’t make any religious comments that could make someone uncomfortable. Better yet, don’t make religious comments at all because you never know who they might make uncomfortable.
There is an endless list of unproblematic topics out there that can be discussed at a Thanksgiving Dinner, including the food you’re eating, or food in general, entertainment, the weather, and fun family memories. Keep in mind to never push a topic onto anyone— especially if they’re visibly uninterested or uncomfortable. Enjoy this time with your loved ones, and have a happy Thanksgiving.