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How to Avoid Hot Topics Around the Dinner Table

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Written by Kaelyn Spickler

The holidays are here, and if you think the usual small-talk you have with your second cousin at the table during Thanksgiving is bad, I can only imagine what this year will bring. Normally college students like to avoid inquiries on plans for next year (especially if you are a senior), any mention of relationship status, and how the semester turned out academically. This year we have a few more topics to add to the table with the recent election or if wearing a mask is democratic or not, so here is how to avoid all of the awkward conversations. 

  1. Plan your escape route. While you’re saying grace around the kitchen, try to spot out the perfect spot at the table that will allow you easy access to the kitchen or bathroom if things get awkward.
  2. Call dibs to sit with your favorite cousin. We all have that favorite cousin, or if you’re lucky, all of your cousins are your favorite, so you’ll have more options to choose from. Either way, surround yourself around people you know will back you up, help you get out of the conversation, or pretend to spill the gravy on you to distract everyone away from the conversation. 
  3. Eat a big spoonful of the mashed potatoes. Follow this by complimenting the chef, and not just any ol’ “this is good.” You have to go all out here if you want to avoid the conversation getting steered back to the question at hand. Try “Oh my gosh this is the best mashed potatoes I have ever had. Aunt Sally, where did you get the recipe?” 
  4. Change the subject. This can be done casually, and it can be done obviously. Do your best to make it as casual of a transition as you can, but if all else fails, blurt out “so are the Cowboys going to beat the Washington Football Team?” If your family is divided with Dallas fans and Washington fans, then maybe pick a different game. 
  5. Answer politely. If you feel all eyes are on you and you can’t change the topic, then smile, answer very briefly, smile again, and then change the subject. You can even say “I don’t know,” or “I don’t want to talk about that right now.”  

As the movie Christmas Vacation says, “It’s Christmas. We are all in misery.” But, it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you can avoid getting into a fist fight with your grandma over the election (be careful, she has a cane!), or get out of answering the million dollar question- “Have you started applying for jobs and where at?” 

Good luck everyone!