There is no question that this past year has been brutal for politics. Friends and family have blocked each other on social media, lines were drawn, sides were taken and the final vote counts left pretty much every one either reeling or reveling.
Personal feelings aside, the holidays are upon us, which will likely be super awkward for many families. It is a time-honored tradition to come together and exchange gifts and eat big meals. Even so, this year will be tough for many families, instead of rubbing salt in wounds or grinding axes, try these four tips to avoid the topic of politics altogether at the dinner table.
Use flattery to change the subject
James Monroe once said, “A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.” He must have been talking about family gatherings, because OMG, amirite? When the mood gets thick with chatter about politics find a way to interject a little of flattery with the goal of swiftly changing the direction of the conversation. Try these ideas:
- Courteously tell the person that you appreciate their interesting point of view and that you will think more about it and then ask a pointed question about an unrelated topic.
- Interject the conversation with a problem like a weird noise your car is making or a fox trying to kill your chickens or whatever and ask your “expert” family member (the one ranting about politics)for advice on how to solve it.
- Ask the person who won’t stop talking about politics if they lost weight, take an unpopular opinion on a TV show that you know they love (hey, at least they aren’t talking about Trump), or claim that you saw the ghost of Elvis in Las Vegas.
Create a diversion
If you tried diplomacy with some slapdash flattery and nothing worked then opt for a straight up an old-fashioned diversion. Spill your wine on the table, “accidentally” fling your appetizer across the room a la Pretty Woman, break wind, ask everyone “did you just hear that?!”, in a worse case scenario, drop your plate of food on the floor, break a glass, “freak out” because you “saw” a “Squirrel” jump out of the tree (like in Christmas Vacation). Start a discussion of who is the better brother, Heat Miser or Snow Miser. Do whatever it takes to get everyone to just stop talking about politics.
Then introduce a new topic.
Draw attention to the food
Ask about the food! Where did the stuffing recipe come from? What recipes have been passed down the family line and for how long? Who hates Brussel sprouts as much as you do? Start a debate about fried turkey or traditional. Or even better, stuffing in the bird or out? Just. Talk. About. The. Food.
Bring up Religion or Finances
When all else fails, just start arguing about religion and talking about finances. It has to be better than talking about Trump, the Russians and the recent defeat of Roy Moore .(Alabama you had me scared).