It’s the holiday season, which means you have to buy presents for all your coworkers (including Carol, the one who probably stole your packed lunch that one time). It also means that you’ll have to return home to your parents’ house for a traditional meal, some football, and your yearly dose of awkward pauses.
Because it’s never easy to navigate this landmine of taboo topics, we’ve got a handy guide to help you survive Thanksgiving without throwing drumsticks at anyone.
1. Try to appreciate family time.
We all know that you’d rather be drinking with your coworkers (except Carol, because she’s a bitch), but it’s important to appreciate your family reunion. It’s not every day that you get to see your cousin Trent’s brand-new adult braces, or listen to Uncle Harry talk about his recent trip to Branson. And Aunt Sophie really does give the best hugs.
Just enjoy the novelty of it all. It’s only a matter of time before someone mentions “climate change” or “Benghazi,” but for now, be happy. It’ll only get worse from here.
2. Practice the ancient art of the segue.
Whenever someone says something overtly political, just pick a word from the sentence and talk about something completely unrelated.
Here’s an example:
Your grandpa: “I can’t believe people are still talking about Trump colluding with Russia. We should really be talking about Crooked Hilary’s uranium deal.”
You: “Uranium? Isn’t that what Doc Brown used in Back to the Future?”
You’ve single-handedly shifted the conversation back toward something completely innocuous. (Unless Cousin Mike goes off on his typical rant against Back to the Future Part III. No one wants that.)
3. Drink alcohol.
This one probably goes without saying, but in situations like this, alcohol is your friend. It’s like Popeye’s spinach. It gives you all the strength you need to handle the long Thanksgiving weekend.
For example, let’s say your cousin Trent, through a mouthful of mashed potatoes, starts railing against gun control. He says something about Democrats exploiting all the recent mass shootings in an effort to take guns away from the law-abiding citizens who just want to protect themselves from criminals. After all, criminals are breaking the law anyway, so why would more laws keep them in line? He also says something about how guns don’t kill people; people kill people.
Now, sober-you wants to dispute literally everything he said. Sober-you would mention how the second amendment starts with the phrase “well-regulated,” or maybe compare gun laws to driving laws, or talk about how countries with stricter gun laws don’t have a problem with mass shootings.
Then Trent would bring up Chicago, which has stricter laws and more shootings. And then you’d explain why those statistics are bullshit. And the conversation would slowly devolve into people quoting Tucker Carlson until you politely leave the table for a bathroom break.
That’s the fate of sober-you.
Drunk-you, however, won’t have to deal with that. Drunk-you will be so distracted by the hunks of mashed potatoes stuck in your cousin’s new adult-braces that you completely zone out what he’s talking about. And when you finally realize what’s going on, the conversation will have already shifted to something else. Everyone wins.
4. Use your sarcasm, but not too much.
If the alcohol solution doesn’t completely work, be sarcastic, but not enough to be obvious about it. For example, your dad mentions how cold it is today, proof that all those global warming idiots must be wrong. Someone else mentions all the crazy hurricane damage that happened this year, and your dad begrudgingly admits that, yes, global warming might be real, but we shouldn’t do anything about it because China is so much worse for the environment than America is.
This is obviously an occasion for sarcasm, but be careful. If you say, “That’s a good point. China’s destroying the world, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the storms,” then he’ll know that you’re being flippant, and then he’ll start quoting that one scientist on Fox News who looks like an undertaker. What’s his name?
If you just say, “That’s a good point” though, he won’t be sure if you’re sarcastic or not. Then the conversation will naturally shift to something else. Like how your coworker Carol is absolutely the worst.