Thanksgiving Table Talk Guide

Welcome back to the time of the year of awkward family talk, personal  questions, and your weird uncle. If your Thanksgiving and holiday gatherings are like many others, you head home or connect via zoom to be with family you haven't seen in months and are expected to give a full update. 

Whether you're connecting with your family over zoom or meeting in-person, food isn’t the only thing on the table at these dinners. Details regarding opinions and lives pair lovely with the prepared meals, and these questions are all the cherry on top (or should I say whip cream). 

Tension surrounding these holidays can be stressful, so this is your go-to guide for answering those awkward questions and making sure you can peacefully discuss politics at the dinner table. 

For the people who have intruding family members regarding love lives, remember that these questions may not be as pressing as you think. Oftentimes your grandma isn’t poking fun about your 5th year of being single and just wants to make sure you’re in good company. Don’t take it to heart and take a deep breath before answering that question for the 5th time. 

 

“Are you still seeing so and so?” or  “How is what’s their name?” 

“No we aren’t seeing each other anymore, however I’m dating around and finding myself.”

 

For the people who are constantly badgered about their schooling or the status of their career, remind them that things don’t happen overnight. Oh, and the fact that the world is struggling in the face of a pandemic and careers and degrees are more difficult to attain under unprecedented circumstances. 

    

“How is school going?” or “Are you ever going to graduate?”

    “School is going _____. I am working towards this degree and enjoying my time.” or “I am still working towards that degree and graduation, however the pandemic and unprecedented times have made it difficult to be a student.” 

 

For the intrusive political family members who may not have voted the way you did, remember that you are not required to share your political opinions if you are not comfortable. Deescalate the conversation by requesting not to discuss politics or giving yourself an excuse to leave that conversation. 

 

“How was your election season?’ or “Who did you vote for this year?”

    “Election season was stressful for a lot of people.”  (PS: you really don’t have to disclose who you voted for to your opposing family member)

 

However, when conversations turn to issues surrounding human rights like police brutality against Black people, the right to choose, or usage of masks to prevent COVID-19, be sure to engage when you feel safe using “I” statements and use your position to advocate for what you believe in. 

Jo Yurcuba, writer for Woman’s Day, an online magazine, suggests using your relation to a family member as a jumping off point.  If you have a racist uncle, for example, people of color likely aren't going to have access to your uncle to try to change his mind. But you do. "The more privilege that you have and the more feelings of safety you have... in these places where you're trying to change minds, I would encourage people to keep at it," Alyan says.”  

Whichever uncomfortable conversation you might find yourself in this thanksgiving, remember that at the end of the day we can only control so much. You can control what you can control aka your political opinions, your career/college standing, and your relationship status. These aspects of our lives are exactly that, ours and embrace how far you’ve come overall and in 2020.