How to avoid awkward conversations during Thanksgiving

Majdouline Bakor, Multimedia Journalist

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and students will start returning home next week for the holidays after a long fall semester. This year, UNF will be taking off for Thanksgiving break from Nov. 24-26. It’s an opportunity to catch up with family members about each other’s lives and maybe enjoy an amazing feast while doing so.

You can almost taste it, the scent of turkey roasting in the oven, delicious mac and cheese covered to preserve the heat, and slathering whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.

It seems all so warm and toasty to imagine. I mean, what could go wrong at a holiday meal with family members you probably haven’t spoken to in a long time? Only the awkward conversations surrounding passive family conflicts, political rants, and cringey stories you’d like to keep in the deep of your subconscious. Or maybe even the overwhelming silence between one another. So, how can you avoid all these situations during your visit back home? Let’s get into it.

Set. Your. Boundaries.

Let your family and guests know that you do not want to indulge in certain topics during your stay. Simply stating “I don’t want to talk about that” might lead family members to pry even more so maybe guide it with “Wait let’s talk about that some other time,” and follow with another subject that sparks better dialogue. There are so many other things you guys can discuss that won’t affect the mood.

 Graphic by Majdouline Bakor

Breaking the silence

A big dinner might seem fun in theory, but sometimes families might find themselves in awkward silence. In opposition to the first step, sparking dialogue might be difficult for various reasons. Maybe they’re just one-worded answers or you guys don’t have a gateway for conversation. Another way is engaging in some family games as well! This could be a great way to break out those artistic skills and interact with each other simultaneously.

Marking your position

To fully prepare yourself mentally, plan your position beforehand. Help your family out with setting the table and putting dishes away. Pick the best spot at the table or couch, preferably next to that favorite cousin. Even offer to take a nice walk around the neighborhood before or after the meal. Interaction doesn’t always have to be confrontational or conversation heavy. Simply enjoying each other’s presence is all we celebrate during this holiday, even if it sometimes feels unbearable.

Lastly, make sure to stay safe while gathering this break with family and friends. Eat well, travel safely and have fun while visiting!


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