1. Don’t bring up politics. If someone else does don’t take the bait. Instead, immediately change the subject to literally anything else. “Has anyone seen that new show Mindhunter? Serial killers, am I right? Right!”
2. Don’t drink alcohol. It may seem like a good idea to suck down some social lubricant, but having loose lips around your racist uncle is a sure fire way to get into a world class verbal rumble. Save the drinking for commiserating with your friends after the holiday.
3. Arrive on time and be the first one to leave. The moment you finish your second, or third, piece of pie it’s time to hit the bricks. It’s simple mathematics. Less time spent around relatives means less time for your nerves to be rubbed raw by incessant questioning of your lifestyle. “So that’s how the kids are wearing their hair these days?” “When I was growing up if a person had THAT many tattoos they were a convict!” Maybe only have one piece of pie.
4. Bring a book. Sit in the most remote area of the house and read. Nothing says, “Fuck off, don’t talk to me” like a nose buried in a good paperback. If anyone asks tell them you’re in a book club and are way behind on your reading. Make sure the book isn’t controversial (sorry Hillary, I’ll have to find out What Happened another time). Stick to YA fiction like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.
5. Help clean up. Less people will expect you to be flapping your jaw if you’re busy hoovering up the mess. Running water has a great way of drowning out ambient conversation about confederate monuments so get in the kitchen and wash those dishes! Dishpan hands are better than a scathing tongue any day of the week, especially on the third Thursday of November.
6. Go for a walk. There’s no better way to avoid an argument than avoiding your family all together. Tell them it helps with your digestion. If someone wants to come with and you want to discourage conversation, walk with the vigor and flexibility of a cross country skier. You’ll lose them in a heartbeat.
7. Don’t go at all. If you know arguing with your family is unavoidable there is no shame in bowing out. Claim you can’t get out of work or plane tickets are too expensive. If that doesn’t work tell them you’ve got the flu and don’t want to get everyone sick. Then go to a Friendsgiving near you. Not only are you free to drink, you can also make those ‘magic’ brownies you’ve been meaning to bake. Whatever you do, don’t post any pictures of Friendsgiving to social media if you feigned illness. Nothing will kill a buzz faster than a guilt tripping voicemail from your mother.