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Ah, Thanksgiving – a time for family, food, and uncomfortable conversations. If you have a large family gathering during this holiday, you know that this is when many differing opinions collide. While you may try your best to avoid it, it somehow comes up year after year. With the 2016 presidential election behind us, you know that there will be extra tension this year. Here is your guide for talking politics with family this Thanksgiving.

1) Don’t be the one to bring it up

As tempting as it may be to start a political conversation, try your best to avoid them. Thanksgiving is a holiday for catching up with loved ones, not arguing about policies. Most likely, you will not change the minds of your family members in one day. Keep in mind that it is a Thanksgiving meal, not the Constitutional Convention.

2) Dodge political jabs

Although you may try to avoid political topics, your family members may not. If your family has differing opinions than you and attempts to make snarky comments, simply avoid them. This will take a tremendous amount of willpower, but these comments are not worth ruining the day for.

3) Guide the conversation

If you see the conversation moving in a dangerous direction, don’t be afraid to speak up. Guide the conversation back to safe territory by changing the topic. Chances are, other family members will be thankful that you did.

4) If you choose to talk politics, do so calmly

If your family thrives off of political conversation and you are comfortable with it, make sure to speak calmly and with compassion. Steer clear of raising your voice or speaking with a negative tone. Attempt to understand your family members’ points of view and respond with an answer that lets them know that you’re listening to what they’re saying.

5) It’s okay not to have the last word

There will always be that family member who insists on having the last word. Instead of being this person, choose to be the levelheaded one. Sometimes when opinions are expressed, a response isn’t necessary. Appreciate that people have opposing opinions and move on.

6) Find a common ground

You may not agree with your family politically, but at the end of the day, they are still family. Choose to be respectful and loving toward them no matter what their views are on building a wall or Hillary Clinton’s email server. This may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. You may just need to agree to disagree.

Between your grandpa’s Make America Great Again hat and your cousin’s “feminist” sweatshirt, you may think your head is going to explode. Try not to let politics get in the way of humanity on this day. There is so much to catch up and learn about with family aside from political views. Instead of Thanksgiving being a dreaded and awkward holiday, allow for it to be an enjoyable gathering. Remember that this is a day to be thankful for family, no matter their political views.

Jennifer D.
Jennifer Duplessie is a senior at Texas A&M University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in political communications incorporating her passion for writing and photography.

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