How to Handle Politics At Thanksgiving

How to Handle Politics At Thanksgiving

Hey, sorry, I have to eat more food

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.

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!


Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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