Thanksgiving Day is here. While we all love the foods and seeing family members we haven’t seen in months or even years, dinner conversations with your extended family members can be interestingly strangled, strenuous and annoying. Along with the turkey comes awkward dinner conversations. Gathered at that extended table are family members from all across the country with various lifestyles, beliefs and social norms, and you’re just trying to survive this four hour and 37 minutes reunion without overdosing on ibuprofen.
The dinner table on Thanksgiving Day is like a United Nations summit. Each cousin, sibling, aunt and uncle represents an independent country, and you have to find a way to be a silent peacemaker while participating in random dinner conversations. To do this successfully, you must be prepared. The dinner table at Thanksgiving can get very courtroom drama-ish, and you better be ready to have something to say without really saying anything. Be prepared to not internalize anything but the mashed potatoes, mac n cheese and apple pie.
Before you sit down to eat, the following are five comebacks for those awkward Thanksgiving dinner conversations you should have at your fingertips, especially f you’re still in the struggle.
1. When they’re talking about work, but you’ve been unemployed forever
You’re happy they’ve gotten raises and promotions. You just don’t want to hear about it for three courses during dinner. So when someone’s new girlfriend or forgettable aunt Fran asks, “So what do you do?” This is no time to share the sob story of how you’ve been unsuccessfully looking employment for months. You don’t want to be that charity case person everyone goes home and starts a gofundme account for; plus Thanksgiving is a festive time; so like your mom’s stuffing, keep it light and fluffy. So when someone at the table asks what you do and the room goes silent because half of the room knows you haven’t found work, just respond. “I’m a reality TV star. Please pass the stuffing.”
2. When they’re talking about happy relationships and you’re more single than a book in a Kardashian house
Your cousin just got engaged. Next month, your sister will be celebrating ten years of marital bliss, and you couldn’t find a man at a Million Man March. But all around you at the dinner table are happy couples. Honestly, you’re happy that they’re happy; you just don’t want to hear about their perfect relationships three courses into dinner. Plus half the room knows you’re single. So when cousin nosy Nancy asks if you’re seeing anyone, knowing you’re single, just respond, “Seventy percent of all marriages end in divorce and happy couples aren’t as happy as they seem. I’m avoiding the heartache and extra weight-gain that accompany breakups by remaining single. Please pass the rolls.”
3. When they’re talking about the joys of parenthood and you’re presently two steps away from putting your kids into foster care
Your sister-in-law’s kids are angels, at least that’s the narrative you’ve been forced to endure for five courses. Your cousin’s kids are all geniuses on their way to Harvard, while your kid could barely maintain a C average and serves you a dose of daily sass. But here you are in the midst of people with heavenly children. When they ask how are your kids, just respond, “Sally is heavily being recruited by the local community college and little Steven has never been to juvie. Pass the potatoes.”
4. When they’re talking about big new purchases and you can barely afford to go over your data plan
Your favorite uncle just bought a new truck for his wife, along with a new diamond ring. Your niece is carrying around a $2,000 handbag and rocking Tory Burch boots. Your aunt just bought a house on the beach, and your least favorite uncle and his third wife are flying to Paris for ten days. You’re happy for their successes and recent purchases that they feel the need to extrapolate for three hours. When the conversation turns to you, just be honest. “I just bought a new iPhone charger at the Apple Store because the old one started wearing a turtleneck. Please pass the gravy.”
5. When they’re gossiping about a family member who isn’t present
Your recently divorced second cousin couldn’t make the family Thanksgiving dinner but all her personal business is present at the table. Your uncle’s brief stint in rehab is the headliner of conversations as the restraining order against him is put out on display next to the sweet potatoes and yams. Your cousin on your dad’s side can’t make it, but his mom has brought his woman drama to the table and spreading it like butter on a biscuit along with her sister-in-law’s failed financial ventures. You don’t like gossiping or hearing about other people’s business. Plus you know if you were absent, they’ll be talking about you, your kids and your broken iPhone charger. So when they turn to you for some juicy gossip or shady feedback, just be honest. “I got nothing, but I’ve been live-streaming this whole conversation on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Periscope. Please pass the sweet tea; so I can keep on sipping.”