AUSTIN - Given the recent polarizing presidential election, tensions could be high over the holidays and topics sensitive. So we decided to give you some tips and advice to keep the peace during Thanksgiving.
The first and easiest step while spending time with relatives is to go in with an understanding they will likely have differing opinions than you. If you have grandparents with more traditional views or children who are progressive, don't write them off as fuddy-duddies or as naive -- be patient.
Let's say it's getting uncomfortable and you feel the need to change the conversation, make sure to go in with a game plan on how to shift topics. The easiest way to do that is to bring up sports, television and weather. These will likely give you some cordial conversation starters.
Talking about your relatives in a positive light can always change the subject. Talking about someone's new haircut or complimenting the host's furniture are good examples. Also, subtle segue such as "that reminds me of," "by the way," and "yes, but" can all get the discussion headed in the right direction.
If you know things are going to get feisty before your relatives even arrive, you could always use a bathroom break or tell a friend ahead of time to give you a call. This can give you the chance to leave for a short period and return with an immediate change of subject.
Above all else, remember your loved ones are at that table with you. They are around for life, unlike today's hot topic. Go in with empathy, always try be understanding and never let an opposing viewpoint get to you.
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