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5 tips for avoiding politics talk at Thanksgiving

Katie Couric
·Global Anchor
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Thanksgiving is here, and many families across America are feeling a little uncomfortable about gathering around the table this year, and it’s not because their pants might be a bit tighter after all that turkey and stuffing. Parents, children, siblings and in-laws are dealing with a post-election Trump-Clinton divide, and many are hoping to keep politics off the table. But what should you do if someone passes the turkey with a big helping of politics on side?

Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric sat down with Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and the host of the “The Power of Different” podcast, to get advice for families hoping to avoid a Thanksgiving throwdown.

Remember that relationships matter more than being right
Saltz says that “being right might feel good in the moment,” but these people are loved ones, there is a history, and these relationships matter more in the long run.

Steer clear of known conflicts
“If you know discussing a particular topic is likely to spark a fight, it’s worth purposely avoiding it,” Saltz explained. It’s OK to say, “Let’s not go there right now,” to move the conversation along without confrontation. Saltz also suggests coming up with a list of topics that are best to avoid, such as immigration or abortion, before turkey day so you are prepared if they come up.

Agree to disagree
Saltz emphasized that you don’t have to convince others to change their views. “If you’re talking about politics and something comes up where you’re really not going to agree with each other, it’s OK to say ‘I hear you, you hear me.’”

Think about seating
If your family has a major Trump supporter and a major Clinton supporter, pay attention to where you seat them. It’s wise not to seat them next to each other. Saltz suggested that dinner can take a while so it’s important “to think about your groupings, think about people’s temperament, who’s likely to explode and who is going to be in a totally different camp.”

Avoid having too much alcohol
People like to celebrate the holidays with a few spirits but it can affect your judgment. “Alcohol is a disinhibiter, and at the end of the day, someone who is trying to hold it together won’t once they’ve had a few drinks,” Saltz explained. She suggests having apple cider instead of cocktails and limiting the wine served with dinner.

Consider canceling your plans
Saltz also told Couric that it’s OK to cancel your Thanksgiving plans altogether. If you feel it’s going to be a toxic situation, sit this one out. “It’s not worth destroying a long-term relationship over this one holiday. On the other hand, realize that when you cancel, you’re making a statement,” she said. “And that means you are going to have to do a little repair after the holiday to try to keep the relationship going.”