How to handle awkward holiday conversations


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Now that the holidays are around the corner, we can look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

But, sometimes holiday tradition means traveling home to find yourself at the dinner table and on the spot, fielding a flood of uncomfortable questions about your personal life that you’d rather not answer. Or, getting roped into an awkward conversation about topics that should be banned altogether, especially during the holidays.

But don’t let these things turn into a fight. This year, come prepared with answers to these questions so you don’t cause problems during the holidays. Here’s how to do it.

“Are you dating anyone?”

Let’s face it, we all get tired of answering this one. Seeing someone but don’t want to delve into the details? Be brief and change the subject. If you’re not seeing anyone, you can say so and leave it at that. Either way, if you don’t want to talk about it, deflection is your best defense. 

“Who did you vote for?”

This one is tough. Though politics is on the holiday blacklist, you’ll need to go into your holiday dinner resigned to the fact that someone in your family will invariably bring up politics and whatever ends up happening during the midterm elections. Here, you should try and stop the conversation before it starts — changing the subject is a great solution or, if you can’t get that to work, you can let your relative(s) speak their mind and just listen to them, without saying anything to encourage the conversation further. 

“How much are you making?”

This is a common job interview question that can sometimes make its way to the dinner table. If you feel comfortable, offer a range or explain that you are making the average salary for a person in your industry. Your relative will hopefully get the hint — and you’ll even get a chance to re-evaluate how much you are making. Don’t want to say? It’s OK to let them know you aren’t comfortable disclosing this information. 

“How much is your rent?”

With rent prices at an all-time high, this can be a touchy question for many. Answer with a polite: “I don’t feel comfortable discussing that.” Or, similar to the salary question, explain how your rent is in the range for the average rent cost in your zip code. Your family member can do the digging themselves. Feel like you’re paying too much? Here’s how to rent an apartment anywhere for less.

“Why aren’t you having any turkey?”

Have a family member who forgot about your vegan or vegetarian diet? Perhaps it’s a new thing for you that they didn’t know about before. Either way, jumping to a retort is uncalled for. If it’s something you’ve been doing for a while, you can politely remind them of this. If it’s new, explain that you’re giving it a try. The main goal here is to educate them on your choices, not preach about why your choice is better. Want to take it one step further? Bring a vegetarian (or vegan) dish to dinner to share with your family. Here are some things you can throw on the grill that aren’t meat

Have to travel for the holidays? Get prepped with these nine tips to make your time at the airport less miserable.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by

Featured Image Credit: PeopleImages.