Thanksgiving dinner often has tender moments of conversation between loved ones, until that one member of the family says the wrong thing.
Families often have specific conversation topics they know to be wary about. At family functions and holidays, these topics are like land-mines and can explode into an argument with the smallest word out of line. In order to avoid unpleasant Thanksgiving conversation, it is important to arm oneself with a knowledge of danger zones.
1. The past
The first danger zone is the past. Every family, or familiar social gathering, has skeletons in the closet. Thanksgiving should be a time to be thankful, forgiving and forgetting.
“We avoid talking about the past,” said photography student Chelsea Johnson. “Inevitably things get said that hurt people’s feelings, and everyone regrets it.”
Danger zone two is a popular one for many students who come from theologically divided homes. Arguing about a topic as personal and important as religion can turn any table’s cranberry sauce sour.
“If we’re with my Mom’s family we don’t talk about Mormonism because they weren’t too excited when she joined the Church,” said Sam Parker, a student in the microbiology program.
The third danger zone is sports. It’s on the TV all the time, and with basketball starting up and football winding down, tensions can rise quickly.
“We avoid talking about BYU football,” said David Egbert, an exercise science major. ”It just makes everyone depressed.”
The fourth danger zone is politics. With the recent election still fresh, talking politics can easily get people as hot as the potatoes.
“We try to avoid it every time and fail,” said Chris Knorr, who is studying mechanical engineering. “It’s politics, whenever we go to my grandparents house. It’s exhausting.”
5. Table manners
The last danger zone is a little more personal. Families often have their own rules about table manners and, when more than one family converges at the same table, those manners can easily be in conflict.
“We feel pretty comfortable talking about most table-appropriate things,” Jesse Myrck, a film student, said.
Most table-appropriate topics are good standads to reference.