Navigating the (Dreaded) Thanksgiving Dinner Talks

Since the lockdown, everyday has been a holiday–staying home, not changing out of PJs, eating, well, a lot…Now it’s November and the only thing that’s changed is we have an actual excuse to eat turkey and pumpkin pie.

Although holidays are basically centered around spending time with family, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us stress about Thanksgiving because of family. Most of the time is spent catching up with relatives we’ve been avoiding (and being reminded of why we moved in the first place), not to mention it could be downright toxic for some. To those of us dreading the Thanksgiving dinner shenanigans, here is a word to the wise: relax, breathe, and find your center. Below are some things that may help you follow that mantra before Thanksgiving dinner becomes a Thanksgiving disaster.

Agree to Disagree

It comes to no surprise that politics is something we dread to talk about with family and friends, especially regarding the recent election. “Differences in politics and beliefs could literally divide families this Thanksgiving and make it downright toxic,” says Carnegie Mellon University experts. In fact, one in six Americans stopped talking to a family member or close friend as a result of the 2016 election and people have only gotten more involved politically since then.

If discussing politics becomes unavoidable at the dinner table, remember to relax, breathe, and find your center. Be constructive, speak your mind, and be firm about your opinions, but also listen to your family and friends. Listening doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing, but having conversations about differing opinions can be educational and even beneficial in strengthening our own perspectives. Dealing with people who might not have the same ideals as you is hard, more so if they are people you love and care about. But without these conversations, we wouldn’t be able to learn and empathize with one another.

Embracing the Uncertainty

Without a shadow of a doubt, the consequences of the pandemic have been down-right devastating. Not only in terms of physical and mental health, but also on the economy. One month into the pandemic, the unemployment percentage shot up to 14.4 percent. Last month it decreased to 6.9 percent but in looking at the whole picture, it’s still very high. Out of the 20.6 million who lost their jobs and livelihoods, those who weren’t dependent on unemployment checks settled for temporary jobs they are overqualified for.

Back to Thanksgiving conversations, you might get unsolicited advice about better career planning from relatives, and it may seem like rubbing salt to the wound, but my ‘unsolicited advice’ is to relax, breathe, and find your center (see a trend here 😉 ). “Setting boundaries is realizing that your family’s concerns are more about them than they are a judgement of you,” says social psychologist Susan Newman. “It’s their own perceptions and beliefs they are projecting onto you, a lot of times.”

My Body, My Choice

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me when I’m planning on getting married or having kids, I’d be a millionaire.

The best thing to do in this situation is (again) relax, breathe, and find your center. It’s your body and your choice. Ultimately, there is no timeline in life. Sure, we can’t stop the tick tock of our biological clocks, but with the number of technological advancements available in our world today, it’s getting closer to possible. In fact, the number of pregnancies among women over 30 has far surpassed the number among women in their 20s. And it’s not to say that women shouldn’t have kids before they turn 30, there are always pregnancy risks no matter the age, but the bottomline is whether you want or don’t want children, marriage, or plan on staying single & ready to mingle – it’s your choice to make, and no one can tell you otherwise.

Spread Love, Not COVID!

Lastly, don’t forget to plan a socially distant Thanksgiving. With video conferencing calls being the norm these days, you can safely celebrate with family and friends from afar. The beautiful thing about Thanksgiving is that it’s about remembrance and hope. Yes, 2020 may have been a crappy year for the most part, but we still have a lot to be hopeful for. Plus without having to pay for travel fare, we get to save up on more Black Friday deals this year. If you are planning on attending an in-person celebration, remember to follow proper safety guidelines to limit the spread. Wash your hands, stay six-feet apart, wear your masks – you know the drill.

From all of us to you, have a Happy Outspoken Thanksgiving!

–Precious Ringor, Content Creator

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