10 Things To Avoid Talking About On Thanksgiving

November 22, 2018  |  
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Family Saying Grace at Thanksgiving Dinner

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The holiday season is obviously a time for families to come together, enjoy each other’s company, and indulge in all the food and drink one can handle. However, with family gatherings comes family drama and the best way to avoid that is to stay away from certain drama — in the form of not talking too much about topics that are sure to set people off.

Unsure about what should be off limits at your family Thanksgiving table this year? Here’s a little guide to stop you from putting your foot in your mouth — or somewhere else.

President Obama Hosts Leonardo DiCaprio For South By South Lawn At The White House

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You don’t even have to ask why this topic should be completely avoided this Thanksgiving. Given the current political climate filled with so much rage, anger, hurt and extreme division, it’s definitely not something you want to discuss when everyone is supposed to be having a good time. Although, realistically, since politics is the most hot-button issue these days it’s bound to come up at some point. If you see the conversation getting heated try to smoothly change the subject to avoid things getting out of hand.


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If politics is at the top of the list of things you want to avoid discussing during Thanksgiving dinner, then religion is definitely a close second. These days the conversation surrounding religion differs greatly between millennials and their parents/grandparents, with the younger generation viewing religion in an entirely different way than their elders.

To keep the peace and avoid changing the mood from happiness to all-out war, steer clear of religion talk as much as possible. With the exception of blessing the Thanksgiving meal, leave religious conversations for Sunday service.

Pile of one hundred dollar bills in bundles

Source: Mark Scott / Getty


There is always that one family member that is wealthier than everyone else and they love to pick the holiday season to make sure you don’t forget it. On the other hand, there is also the family member that’s forever crying broke no matter the situation.

If you don’t want to be bothered with either of these extremes, try your best to direct all conversations involving finances to something else. This is the best practice because someone is bound to be offended if they feel like their financial situation is being gossiped about.

Upset couple back-to-back

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Past Relationships

No one really wants to live in the past, especially if you have to do it in front of all your family members. This is especially true as it involves old relationships and the drama they caused.

Since the holiday season is when most of us bring our new significant others around for the first time, you certainly don’t want your family spending the entire evening talking about how much they loved or hated your ex. Leave the past right where it belongs for a peaceful evening.

Mother giving thanks at the dinner table with son

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Old Family Drama/Secrets

As hard as we may try, once a few cocktails start circulating and memories come flooding back, the inevitable exposing of old family drama and secrets occurs. The elders of the family are perhaps guiltier of this than anyone else because they have been around long enough to know all the family dirty laundry.

It may be in vain, but try to avoid going down this road as much as you can. When the family starts talking about old drama, maybe you could turn things around by bringing up all the good things that are happening for the family currently. It’s worth a try.

Symbol Picture Diet

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Your Diet Vs. Everyone Else’s

Your new vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian diet is your business and your journey…with the emphasis on your. Thanksgiving is definitely not the time for you to lecture all of your family members with different diets why they should change and follow your dietary lead.

During the holidays people want to eat and indulge in peace without judgement, so please don’t side-eye family members who get extra helpings, eat pork, consume large amounts of dairy or keep refilling their wine glasses.

African couple kissing in bed

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One of the best things about the modern times we live in is that now more than ever, people are free to sexually express themselves and embrace all facets of their sexuality. However, your family, especially the elders, likely have very opposite views when it comes to sex and sexuality and talking about it during  Thanksgiving dinner could cause some drama.

In an effort to keep things civil, refrain from discussing your sex life or sexuality around the family members who you know have an issue with your lifestyle and views on the subject. Besides, it’s very personal and you shouldn’t feel like you have to discuss it if you don’t want to.

Portrait of a plus size woman on a yellow background

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Physical Appearance Of Others

Let’s be real, at some point we’ve all gained and lost weight throughout our lives, it’s no big deal. Unfortunately, some family members didn’t get that memo and love to point out the differences in your physical appearance every time they see you.

Whether you’ve lost weight or put on more than a few pounds, certain relatives just can’t wait to comment on it, mostly in a rude way. Although weight isn’t the only form of physical appearance that can cause things to get heated, clothing (or lack thereof,) hairstyles and makeup also fall under this umbrella. When in doubt, keep the comments as positive as possible minus the snark.

African teenage couple arguing in school yard

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Unsolicited Advice About Relationships

In terms of family, there are few things more annoying than receiving unsolicited advice, especially when it concerns relationships. There’s something about the holiday season that seems to give family members the courage to tell you all about your relationship(s) and what you need to do…according to them.

A stray comment here and there may go unnoticed, but when a family member attempts to dissect your entire relationship history without you asking them to, it can borderline on intrusion.

Thanksgiving: Family gathers for dinner at grandma's house. Little boy.

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Unsolicited Parenting Advice

No one’s kids are perfect, but right around the holiday season you’re likely to encounter those relatives who think they have perfect children and offer you mounds of advice on how to raise yours.

This a huge argument waiting to happen. If you’re guilty of doing this, resist the urge to give parental advice you weren’t asked for. Additionally, if you’re the one being bombarded with advice you didn’t ask for on raising your children, simply say a firm “thanks” one time and change the subject. Hopefully, everyone will get the message.

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