As many students are preparing for the trek home for Thanksgiving break, many of us are also mentally preparing ourselves for the inevitable discussion of politics at the family Thanksgiving event. Of course, families may not differ in opinion, but extended family may be a whole other story for some of us. Before this Thanksgiving event, it would be beneficial to be aware of your family members opinions and political views because these can somewhat predict how to handle the situation of politics and the election coming up in conversation.
If and when a family member asks what you thought about the election, establish whether said family member would appreciate your sharing or proceed to list all the ways in which you are wrong and how he or she is right. It can be nice to share opinions and agree to disagree or agree to agree, but if someone is just going to berate you, then it is honestly not worth the trouble.
Anyways, whether you just plain old do not want to bring it up, or you need some go-to advice for how to get out of a sticky situation, this list is for you!
1. Avoid Question and Create New Subject
Instead of sharing your opinion about the election, you can share what it felt like to be on a college campus during the election. This subject is so much easier because you can share the various opinions of other students and what the college did to encourage meaningful discussion, or just your reflective thoughts of the campus atmosphere. This way, you avoid the question with a new subject, but do not have to risk being told you are wrong.
2. Escape to the Restroom
Of course, avoiding this conversation may not be so easy, so using the restroom as an excuse can give another family member enough time to start a conversation with the other family member who is persistent in hearing your opinion. Subject averted and mission accomplished.
3. Ask For More Food
Food is always an excuse because you are supposed to be the returning college student who barely has time to eat and now is the time to replenish your body and enjoy a home-cooked meal. If the table is set up with food on it, then ask said family member to pass (fill in the blank) dish. If it is set up in another room, even better! Then, you can escape the conversation, get more food, maybe even check your phone and sit down hopefully avoiding the conversation.
4. Stuff Food In Your Face
As often is the case, you know a family member will not back down from this conversation, and you can stuff food in your face as a way to create more time for you to form an opinion said family member would want to hear, or a vague one. Also, you could try to talk with food in your mouth, though not recommended, but then no one would be able to understand you and hopefully your family member is more freaked out by your lack of manners than your opinion they did not hear.
5. Be Honest
If you really want to avoid this conversation, then you can say so! Explain to said family member how you do have an opinion, but you want to enjoy your time and this meal and would really rather discuss (insert other topic here). Keep a list of these topics in mind such as courses for next semester, future jobs, future events, experiences from the previous semester, courses from the previous semester, etc.
6. Ask Family Member About to Tell a Story
Especially with the family members who see themselves as "wiser," this tactic is great. Propose a new question to your family member's question about politics, "Can you tell me about your first time voting?" "What is your favorite memory from college?" "Tell me about (another family member)."
In any case where you have decided the family member will listen and not attack you or your opinion, then here is my advice in explaining your opinion.
7. Talk About Other Family Member
There are so many family members who love to hear opinions or gossip about other family members, so this is the perfect time to bring it up as a new subject.
8. Seek Help From Sibling
Everyone has that one family member who is the topic of conversation between you and your sibling, and because many sibling are so close, this is the perfect time to seek help. Even if you are not that close with your siblings, ask for help and tell them you owe them if they help you.
9. Break Out the Wine
In cases where a family member will most likely tell you your opinion is wrong, then it can be a great distraction to break out the wine and talk about it instead. Of course, this all depends on whether you are of legal drinking age or not, and if not, whether your family member would be offended by you having wine at all.
10. Text Friend For Back Up Plan
In any situation where me or a friend feels it will not go as plan and may need assistance getting out it, we always have a plan where one of us will text the other, then the other will call the first friend and pretend to be crying profusely and demand the support of the other. Then, the friend in the sticky situation will explain why she has to leave immediately. It would not be wrong to have the same sort of plan with a friend if a family member is berating you or taking a long time to explain his or her opinion.
Explanation (if you feel inclined and safe)
As you have decided to explain your opinion to a family member, keep in mind that he or she may not agree with you and although said family member will not tell you your opinion is wrong, he or she may want to spend time explaining his or her own opinion. This explanation can take a long time, and if you really do not want to hear it, use any of the excuses listed above. If at any time, you realize the family member will insult you for your opinion, then you can walk away or change the subject. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy, not a time to be manhandled for a differing opinion.