Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the blessings we have in our lives and to celebrate family. The pinnacle of Thanksgiving is the dinner, and coming back home from college you can expect there to be a few questions during dinner that may be a little, ahem, awkward.
Here’s a list of 5 you might encounter, plus a few suggestions for how to respond!
1. A member of your immediate family mentions something embarrassing that you did… in front of your entire extended family.
“Yeah well remember that time you (insert embarrassing/stupid/questionable action).”
You automatically send a glaring look across the table at your oh-so-humorous sibling just as all those around you are suddenly paying full attention to you as they caught the tail end of that provocative statement. Alas, some stories are meant to remain within your immediate family cluster!
How to handle it: Laugh it off as no big deal and change the subject as you kick your sibling under the table.
2. “How are things going at (NJIT/Rutgers/Insert any NJ College that is not TCNJ)?”
This one puts you in weird spot because you know that the last three times you saw your family you still had to explain where you went to school, and now the realization is hitting you that your family still may not get where/what TCNJ is (It’s the best public institution in the northeast!!).
How to handle it: Just act like nothing happened, or if they are a repeat offender say, “yeah I really love being at The College, The College of New Jersey, aka TCNJ!”
3. “So, (said with a sly side smile) are you seeing anyone?”
Whether you’re single, involved with someone or in a relationship, nobody likes this question, and nobody wants to share their dating life details with their long-lost Uncle Joe.
If you’re single this question just automatically makes you feel uncomfortable for not having a S/O to talk about in that moment, and if you’re in a relationship it opens the door for a family discussion about how they really feel about your S/O. In this case honesty may not be the best policy.
How to handle it: “Pass the rolls.”
For any senior colleigettes, this question is probably the worst.
4. “What are you doing after graduation?”
(Cue immediate internal despair).
Why does everyone assume it’s okay to casually address this topic as if we just can’t wait to talk about it?! NO. We don’t even want to think about it or address it as a real thing. We have no idea what will happen with our lives in six months or let alone with the rest of our lives.
How to handle it: “I’m keeping my options open.”
Unless of course you have a job lined up! In that case, time to whip out Grandma’s secret stash of champagne.
5. Any discussion about politics/government or “how kids dress these days.”
This is where things get heated at the dinner table. Please Aunt Mary, don’t throw your turkey at Dad again. It’s uncomfortable when family members get rowdy about heated issues, and even more uncomfortable when they put you on the spot about your personal political, social or religious views.
How to handle it: At your own risk, contribute to the conversation accordingly.
At the end of the day there is nothing quite like a rambunctious family dinner to create lasting Thanksgiving memories, so enjoy the lively conversation and indulge in the delicious food!