NEW YORK (WCBS-TV) — While some people are busy preparing their Thanksgiving feast, others are concerned about the conversation during dinner, gearing up for an onslaught of intrusive or even rude questions from loved ones.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be about gratitude, family, and food but for some people, it turns into an unpleasant game of 20 questions.
From “Are you dating anybody?” to “When are you getting married?” to “When are you having children?” there are just some questions people would rather not answer.
So what is the best way to handle those situations without derailing your holiday dinner?
“As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to laugh at it. It used to bother me when I was younger but you have to roll with it, it’s family,” said Billy Shaw of Garden City.
But relationship expert Andrea Syrtash says if it bothers you, dont laugh it off. Instead, end the conversation.
“These are updates that should be shared by you on your terms not asked by others on their terms,” Syrtash said.
Thomas Farley, an etiquette expert known as Mister Manners, says these questions actually ruin holidays for some people.
“People we know are skipping gatherings because of these award conversations and when they’re saying they’re feeling very differently about their relatives than when they arrived,” Farley said.
Experts we spoke to say the easiest thing to do is to prepare a sentence ahead of time and kindly refuse to answer the question and change the subject.
“You can simply say, ‘I’ll let you know if there’s any news.’ You can shut down the conversation that way because people will keep probing and the more you share the more they’ll ask,” Syrtash said.
“Talk about the food in front of you. Something people always love to talk about is their pets. Another great topic is vacations,” Farley suggested.
Humor is also good go-to to avoid answering awkward questions.
Farley and Syrtash say a lot of go-to topics are now controversial, like the happenings in Hollywood and taking a knee in football. So if you make those hot topics – and of course politics – off limits at the dinner table, the meal might be more enjoyable for all.
And when in doubt focus on what you’re thankful for.
Etiquette experts say if a relative continues to pry into your personal life it’s OK to pull them aside and explain that there are certain things you’re not comfortable discussing.
They also say if you see another relative trying to get out of an uncomfortable conversation jump in and help them out by changing the subject.