Family

Can You Really Avoid Fighting with Family Over Thanksgiving?

Surviving the holidays at home is a feat, but you don't have to fight over the turkey — we promise!

Oh God, it’s that time of year again: the holiday season. Seeing family for the holidays can bring up all sorts of anxiety, frustration, and anger. Families have stopped speaking over differing opinions and politics, so naturally going home can cause a knot in your stomach so bad, no amount of turkey can fix it.

But surely it doesn't have to be that way, right? You don't have to get into a major fight with your family every time you get together? Personal Space called an etiquette expert to help us with tips to try to avoid the fighting. National Etiquette Expert Diane Gottsman told us the following:

1.  Don't expect miracles

"The chance that Grandma Betty is going to be on her best behavior and not make a political slur is slim to none, even on Thanksgiving. Before the conversation starts going in the direction of no return, be prepared to divert Grandma by asking her to help you serve the coffee or share her famous holiday highball recipe everyone can’t get enough of. Enlist the assistance of your siblings or close family or friends to help keep her on the right track. She will revel in the attention and not even be aware of the tactical save. Having a few discreet helpers will ensure, even if you must leave the table temporarily, your dinner conversation will be covered with kindness."

2.  Divert their attention

"Ask any adult and they will be able to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. Put a positive spin on things by taking turns going around the table and reminiscing about a favorite childhood memory. It’s a simple way to encourage conversation and keep the mood light and upbeat rather than combative."

3.  Work off anxiety

"If sitting around the living room and talking about life seems a bit stiff and is a breeding ground for an argument, gather the family and do something active outdoors. Play a rousing game of touch football or take a hike in the park — anything that will keep hot topics at bay."

4.  Don’t take the carrot

"It’s easy to be led to behave a particular way when your older sibling or distant cousin start reverting back to their childish ways of the past. People often carry their broken childhood relationships into adult life. Do your best to remain neutral, avoiding the temptation to retort back with a similar jab. 'I’ve outgrown our battle' is a nice reply to a brother who wants to taunt you about a previous incident."

Or... ignore all of the above. The Washington Post says no listicle can prevent family fighting if everyone's set to rumble, so either stay home or just talk about the food and try to avoid everything else.

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