How to Cope with Difficult Conversations at the Thanksgiving Gathering

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

I feel that every time Thanksgiving comes round there are more and more people every year that get anxious about their family gatherings for multiple reasons. The biggest one being that we are afraid of strong topics that make us uncomfortable will come up and ruin the dinner for all of us. Below I have constructed tips and tricks I have personally used as well as found on the internet years ago when my anxiety of this topic first started.


• Try to adjust the attitude you have right now – I understand how hard it is not to worry about what will be said, what may be brought up, and etc. My family is the worst for bringing up difficult conversations politics included. But you mustn’t go into the gathering thinking everything will blow up/go wrong/everyone will fight. Don’t stress yourself about what might happen. Try to relax, stay calm.


• Think about the value of your relationships/friendships – Thanksgiving may be at your friend’s, or family’s house. Either way, think about that friendship or relationship. Point your focus to what is important to you. Not to others. You may be at your S/O’s house. I will tell you right now it does not matter what their family thinks of you as long as your partner has your back, loves & supports you. Be yourself. Keep your composure. Remember that words can never be said. You may be at a friend’s house, is there a long-term value to this friend? I would just refrain difficult topics all together no matter where! But please don’t be afraid to take up for yourself. Or simply, walk away. 

• Set boundaries for yourself this year on what you will speak & won’t speak about – is your family pressuring you? Asking why you aren’t married yet or why you haven’t had a baby yet? Simply put your foot down and tell them that that topic is off the table! You should never entertain questions you don’t feel comfortable with. If they keep pushing, walk away for your sanity.


• Find a buddy – surely everyone has a favourite cousin or person in the family that has views that are similar or align with them. Having this “buddy” will help you if strong topics are brought up. You guys can distract each other or direct the conversation together in your favor. 

• Try to Understand – don’t jump to conclusions & think about their viewpoints. Really think. Why do they think that? Not everything or everyone needs to be one-sided. Aside from family gatherings, this has helped me grow as a person! When you can think about both sides from an equal standpoint whether you agree or not helps build character and can be very liberating.

• If the discussion gets too heated and you feel you have no control, please remember you are in control! Simply leave. If you cannot physically leave then close your eyes, breathe in. Everything will be okay! Conversations being talked are temporary, your mental health isn’t so what I would do in this situation is to find my happy place once I steady my breathing (I get super anxious so this is what I personally do). Once you find your happy place, stay there. When the ghost seems clear, all good! I then tune back into the family and simply, smile.

I know that was a ton, and I hope you aren’t intimidated by the Holidays this year with your family or friends. Just have a great time, be safe, and enjoy yourself! Copy and paste these tips into your notes so you a have them put up in easy reach! I hope everyone has a fabulous night/evening/day/weekend, rest of the year! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to this blog for more lifestyle content!

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