How To Avoid Those Awkward Family Thanksgiving Conversations

Thanksgiving is known as a time to come together and hang out with your family. For some, that can be nightmare-inducing. Whether it's talking about politics or when you're planning on finally getting married, Thanksgiving dinner conversations can be awkward and difficult.

If you find yourself feeling anxious about the upcoming holiday, you're not alone. According to CNN, social scientists have even coined the term "Thanksgiving Anxiety Disorder," proving that more and more Americans are suffering from anxious feelings before sitting down for that 3 p.m. dinner with their extended family members.

Psychologists also have found a link between anxiety and Thanksgiving (via Psychology Today). The pressure of seeing family and having difficult conversations can cause you to act in ways you might not even notice. Avoiding conversations by deflecting to a sibling or spouse or turning the television on during a tense conversation are signs you may be struggling with these complicated family dynamics.

However, there are ways to avoid these awkward conversations and help you feel more comfortable when you're eating pumpkin pie with all your aunts and uncles this week.

How to avoid political conversations during Thanksgiving

If you're concerned that your Thanksgiving conversations this year will be full of political opinions you don't want to hear, there are some tips to handle the awkward and heated conversations that can arise. First of all, it's important to go into these conversations not looking to change anyone's mind.

Dan Harris, an ABC News correspondent, gave this advice to Men's Health when it comes to dealing with awkward Thanksgiving political conversations. "Don't try to change minds ... Instead, go in with the goal of simply trying to understand where people are coming from." This will hopefully avoid heated arguments and instead allow you to better understand one another.

"Don't characterize the other side's opinion; just characterize your own," Harris added. "For instance, a pro-Trumper would be advised to say, 'I'm worried about higher taxes damaging the economy' rather than 'You Democrats just want to feed at the trough of a bloated welfare state.'"

While it might be easy to slip into these conversations, it's probably best to try to avoid getting into them as much as you can. USA Today recommends setting boundaries for yourself and making them clear before you all sit down together. This should hopefully prevent conversations from occurring in the first place.

Staying away from the love life questions

Maybe your family sees eye-to-eye politically or would rather just avoid the conversation in general. While that's great, you might still have that nosy aunt who wants to know all about your love life. Being single during Thanksgiving — or even in a long-term relationship with no plans of walking down the aisle anytime soon — can be stressful with family members who have differing ideas of what romance should look like. If you find yourself in that position, there are kind ways to shut down insensitive commentary (via Self Magazine).

If your love life becomes a topic at the dinner table, you can politely shut it down by standing firm in your own defense while not lashing out at your family members (via the Chicago Tribune). If that nosy aunt is constantly asking about when you will finally find a partner, kindly say, "Actually, I'm loving life, and it's going fine."

If you recently went through a breakup and your family is digging for details, simply state you're no longer together with that person and shut it down then and there — there's no need to go into the situation's every detail. Point out the obvious and leave it at that. Good luck!