13 Taboo Topics You Absolutely Should Avoid at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table (But You Won’t After a Few Drinks)
The Thanksgiving dinner table is a minefield. It’s not a question of if someone will say something offensive, inappropriate, or untoward; it’s just a question of when. (And “after a few drinks” is usually the answer.) Before you dare to sit down with your filter-free and possibly unhinged relatives this turkey day, review our list of 13 taboo topics you absolutely should avoid at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Curtail your conversation accordingly! When in doubt, just shove another forkful of food in your mouth to keep your tongue from uttering something unsavory.
Cover Photo: Columbia Pictures
Yeah, yeah, Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself. (He totally did.) Keep your conspiracy theories where they belong: in the dark recesses of social media.
The Impeachment Proceedings
Are you looking to start a family fist fight? The words "impeachment," "Watergate," and "Trump" should not be part of Thanksgiving dinner conversation unless you want to get yourself banned from family gatherings forevermore.
Longstanding Family Drama
Aunt Mary insists on bringing her barky little Shih Tzu to Thanksgiving dinner every year even though it predictably shits on the carpet. Look, we know you'd like to skewer the little beast, but she's widowed and lonely and wants a warm body (even if it's a dog's body) to sleep next to every night just like you do. Contain your anger.
It's anonymous for a reason! While some people in recovery are more than happy to talk your ear off about how their newfound sobriety is going, wait for them to bring it up. The other people at the table may have no idea they had an addiction, much less sought help. If you accidentally let "How's your 12-step program going?" slip, and they ask you to pass the wine in response, their relapse is all your fault.
The last thing anyone mired in unemployment wants to hear is "Have you found a job yet?" It's embarrassing enough to admit your Bachelor's degree in social justice didn't exactly pan out. It's downright mortifying to have to tell a table full of employed relatives (with pensions, no less) that you can't even get hired as a sandwich artist.
Nobody cares. And nothing kills the Thanksgiving binge buzz like a guest with holier-than-thou dietary restrictions. Pass the stuffing, you stick insect. Some of us like to eat.
There's no way the "Did you lose weight?" question ends well. If they haven't lost weight, and they've been trying to, they'll feel like a failure. If they have lost weight, the momentary pride they feel will be eclipsed with wondering if you noticed (and judged) how fat they were before.
Hey, holidays are stressful. It's understandable that some of us seek solace in a mountain of mashed potatoes. The only thing that makes an overeater eat more is when they hear comments like "Haven't you had enough?" Focus on your own plate and deny yourself all you want. They'll take off that mashed potato weight gain in the new year when they go Paleo. Definitely. Maybe.
Pressure much? Marriage isn't the coveted milestone it used to be, so don't be surprised when your "When are you getting married?" query is met with a shrug. What's worse is if your pestering triggers an ongoing argument in the couple's relationship about marriage. When they're getting hitched, they'll let you know...unless you're not invited to the wedding, which we'd totally understand given how unrelenting you are.
Inquiries about having -- or not having -- children are off-limits, and not just at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You don't know what anyone's reproductive struggles have been, if they're just not the parenting kind, or if they did get pregnant and chose to have an abortion. Either way, the proliferation of their genes is none of your business.
We don't want to keep anyone's sexual identity in the closet, but let's not drag it out onto the Thanksgiving table, either. If the party in question feels like sharing details about their LGBTQ+ status, they will. But they probably won't because most people ask stupid questions like this one.
No, your family wasn't aware that you're polyamorous and now they wish they didn't know. Sex with multiple partners, no matter how loving, is not a conversation topic you want to broach while passing the giblet gravy. No one wants to picture you in a pile of sweaty limbs while eating dinner.
We know. We feel you. We hate everyone at Thanksgiving, too. But you have to put a lid on it. It's the holidays! You can scream into your pillow later tonight. We won't tell.