15 Things You Should Never Discuss at Thanksgiving Dinner

Why your brother isn’t married yet

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Thanksgiving dinner can be sheer agony for single folks because they know they’re likely to get drilled about their relationship status, pitied, set up with random people, or d) all of the above. It’s enough to make a person want to stay home with a microwave dinner. “Understandably, family members are genuinely interested in each other’s relationships yet when these questions or comments are made in a large gathering or at the dining table, the person responding may feel put on the spot about something quite personal,” says Shrein Bahrami, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Evolve Wellness Group. “Rarely is someone in a problem-free relationship or navigating the waters of singlehood with ease. They are then forced to either respond with a token, ‘everything is great’ or be honest, resulting in a bad mood, counter to the intended lighthearted atmosphere of the event.” Are you the recipient of intrusive questions about your relationship? Shut them down with these 16 polite responses to your most awkward holiday encounters.

How you feel about your saddlebags, cellulite, or weight gain

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Body image is a loaded topic any day of the week but bring it up during a holiday meal and it’s the perfect storm for low self-esteem or even eating disorders, Bahrami says. Don’t discuss your own body in a negative way and certainly don’t criticize anyone else’s body, appearance, diet, or health. “Discussing your own or someone else’s weight or appearance is, unfortunately, an all too common topic at holiday dinners,” she says. “But the truth is no one truly enjoys these conversations.” Even a compliment can be tricky, as the person may have many feelings about changes in their appearance or weight and be quite self-conscious when attending a family function, she adds. Instead of commenting on someone’s appearance, say something more general like “It is so great to see you” or “I’m so glad to be reconnecting/spending time with you” as these will help them feel loved and welcome.

Your sister’s children (or lack thereof)


Commenting on a relative’s family planning is a huge holiday no-no, says Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer for BeenVerified. Whether you’re commenting on the number of kids they have, asking when they’ll have another, or speculating on when they’ll start their family, you put them in an incredibly awkward situation. (So, when will you be having sex, cousin?) “No one likes to be put on the spot about their reproductive choices,” he says. “So let the couple be and eat their turkey in peace.” If they want you to know this information, they’ll bring it up. In the meantime, stick to these 20 funny Thanksgiving quotes to share around the table.

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