With 2017 inching to an end, I think we agree it was a hectic year of politics for many reasons. As we gather everyone together around the table for the big Thanksgiving feast, good ol’ family drama plus opposing political views might lead to utter turmoil. These super simple strategies will provide the mental structure you need to power through any holiday gathering.
Proper etiquette is crucial for keeping the peace. After all, the holidays are enjoyable and carefree, so let’s try to avoid political talk and keep them that way! (You can thank us later.)
#1 – Stick to Safe Conversations
Any topic with a general audience is a great start. Talk about a new movie you’ve seen recently, an interesting health article you’ve read about, or the latest Hollywood breakup news to keep safe topics flowing around the table. Bond over how good the food tastes, good old family memories, or other shared experiences. Ask questions about jobs, hobbies, sports, and things of that nature. Always stay away from politics, religion, and the dreaded, “How’s your love life?”
Also, if you have kids that are aware of political figures or issues, encourage them to NOT bring those names up at any time!
#2 – Mentally Prepare for the Holidays
Before arriving to your family gathering, take some time in the car to prepare yourself for any difficult conversations that may arise. Tell yourself to keep your cool, plan comebacks for certain scenarios, and hold yourself accountable for your actions. Preparing yourself for provocative opinions will allow yourself to plan an appropriate and mature response.
#3 – Set Family Guidelines First
The host of the party needs to politely inform everyone that politics should not be discussed this year, ahead of the event. Solid ground rules for topics helps set expectations. Having everyone know the boundaries beforehand ensures a good chance people will respect those rules. If everyone’s on the same page, conflict may be avoided! It’s worth a shot anyway.
#4 – Listen!
Sometimes the best thing to do is to not say anything at all. Don’t take the bait for an invitation into a rough conversation. The act of listening is your substitute response and your silence will be acknowledged. You might even see someone else’s point of view and learn a thing or two.
#5 – Stuff Your Face
Let’s be real. Your family get-together might spiral out of control into political oblivion or sudden sharing of strong opinions on a controversial social issue. When all else fails, there’s always great food and alcohol to make it through!
Politics are ever-changing, but family is forever. If there’s anything worth screaming about, it’s who ate the last piece of pumpkin pie!
Hint: bookmark this post to calm your nerves and bring you to a place of apolitical zen in December, too!
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