11 Questions We Need To Stop Asking At Thanksgiving

We all know that Thanksgiving usually gets surpassed by the biggest and brightest holiday of the season, Christmas, but that doesn’t make it any less special. It’s the perfect way to enjoy family and friends and an excuse to slip into your cutest autumn OOTD.

By Gwen Farrell3 min read
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Any opportunity to gather with family is a reason to be grateful and thankful, but as so many of us know, these occasions are often more memorable due to their awkwardness and tension. You can disagree with your loved ones fundamentally and still cherish them as people, regardless of what the media says about cutting them out of your life. But we could all use a refresher on what is appropriate dinner table conversation and what isn’t. Here are 11 questions we need to stop asking at Thanksgiving.

1. When Are You Going to Meet Someone?

This should go without saying, but single people don’t need you to remind them that they’re single. The holidays are one of the hardest times to be alone – especially when it feels like everyone around you has someone. Even if the person this question is intended for has completely given up on dating altogether, let them be the one to tell you that; don’t go digging for it. Regardless of how much or how little info on their romantic life they give you, be supportive and loving. It’s a holiday, after all.

2. Why Don’t You Put Yourself Out There More?

If having a successful romantic relationship or a boyfriend or fiancé to parade in front of your family at holiday gatherings was simply a matter of “putting yourself out there,” we’d all have someone. But most of us are not looking for just “anyone.”

In case you’re unaware, modern dating is absolutely abhorrent. Not only are singles targeted from both men and women, progressive and conservative, old and young, about what they’re supposedly doing wrong, but in this day and age, the stakes are way too high to go out with just anyone, especially if you’re looking for marriage and a family.

3. What Happened to So-and-So?

Of all the questions you really shouldn’t ask, this one takes the cake. Breakups are hard enough as it is without every family member asking to know the ins and outs of why you called it quits with your ex. It’s natural to get attached to who your relatives are dating, especially if they’ve been together a while and have previously attended holiday gatherings and family functions. But still! What a completely avoidable way to spoil the holiday for that person. Leave the past in the past and focus on who’s present with you around the table, not who’s missing.

4. When Are You Getting Married?

One of the quickest ways to sour what’s supposed to be a fun get-together is to bring up a touchy subject. If a couple in your family is taking their sweet time, it might be that either one (or both) of them just isn’t ready to make the big leap to lifelong commitment. Marriage is a big deal, and we should treat it as such. The dinner table or the living room isn’t really the place to discuss that kind of thing, especially in front of tons of people. Skip it and watch football instead if you’re looking for some type of excitement.

5. When Are You Having Kids?

Every newlywed gets this question at one time or another, and while there usually isn’t anything sinister or malicious behind it, you as an outsider are not privy to the intimate parts of someone else’s marriage, nor should you be. There are many reasons why a new couple probably doesn’t want to discuss their sex life and family planning at the dinner table, and that should be respected, regardless of how quickly or soon you got pregnant and how many kids you think they should have. For all you know, they could be trying already or planning to start in the future, or even putting it off for specific reasons. Stick to complimenting the pumpkin pie and leave the procreation talk to the people it concerns first and foremost.

6. Is Everyone Here Vaccinated?

At this point, everyone who wanted the vaccine has gotten it. Why not leave it at that? Also, are the personal and private medical decisions of other individuals really a good talking point when passing the green bean casserole? Not really.

7. Have You Gotten Boosted?

Now that there’s evidence to suggest that booster efficacy decreases after four months (which basically means we’re staring down the barrel of a lifetime of boosters), let’s table the booster discussion along with vaccines. Some of us want boosters, and some of us aren’t interested in buying retirement homes for pharmaceutical executives, especially when this holiday gathering is expected to be much more expensive than ones from years past. It’s really as simple as that.

8. Are You Really Going To Eat All of That?

(Besides family and gratitude) isn’t this what the holidays are all about? Worry about what's on your own plate, not everyone else's.

9. Have You Gained Weight?

Only insecure people want to make others feel insecure. Don’t be that person, especially when the people who love you most are involved. And if you really have to be that person, suggest taking a walk after dinner or playing a game of touch football. The majority of us will gain weight during the holidays, but getting the whole family involved when it comes to getting active post-turkey coma is a good place to start if you’re really concerned.

10. Your Baby Isn’t Doing That Yet?

Whatever arbitrary milestone you’re asking about, this is passive-aggressive and nothing more. You don’t have to make yourself feel better by expressing faux sympathy for new or even experienced parents, and there’s no need to offer up advice unless they ask for it.

11. Who Are You Voting For?

This is another quick way to kill the vibe. While conflict around the family dinner table during the holidays may be the mainstay of what passes for comedy over at Saturday Night Live nowadays, it doesn’t have to govern your dinner table. Leave the politics out of the day, and you’re guaranteed to have a much more enjoyable time, especially if you know for sure you’re incapable of having a civil conversation among family. Again, you don’t need to agree with your family on everything to love them dearly – if that was the standard to go by, most of us would’ve cut ties with each other a long time ago. And you don’t need to “educate” them on political issues on a day that’s meant for gratitude and family. Some things are just more important than citing statistics or winning arguments. Count your blessings, eat your pumpkin pie, and table the polarizing discussions for another time. 

Closing Thoughts

We’re facing hard times. The news cycle is full of headlines meant to scare us or make us anxious, and it’s tempting to be cynical and pessimistic about the things we used to enjoy or take pleasure in. But Thanksgiving in particular is the reminder we all need, a gentle prompt to put away our worry and stress, enjoy our time with our loved ones, and make the memories we’ll talk about next year.

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