MPU's Top 10 Ideas to Improve ANY Thanksgiving Conversation

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day that involves family, football, and most of all: good food.

This highly anticipated day has something for everybody. Whether you’re interested in getting out and doing some work in your community, watching a parade, helping cook up a delicious feast, or cheering on your favorite team, there are countless reasons to celebrate.

However, coming together with our families during moments of unprecedented political tension and national division can induce as much anxiety as it does joy. In these times, it’s important to remind ourselves of our shared values and to come armed with as many foolproof techniques for diffusing the tension around the dinner table. 

At MPU, we believe that it’s possible for those with different political viewpoints to find common ground. So for those of you dreading the yearly family feud: we have a few tips on how you can become the Dinner Table Diplomat. 

The Dinner Table Diplomat diffuses divisive banter that is likely to derail an evening. This hero wears no cape, but brings us to an evening where families can enjoy each other’s company without falling victim to political debates.

For all of you diplomats out there, we’ve put together ten ideas to diffuse tense family discussions this Thanksgiving, inspired by our Code of Conduct – and some inspired by trial and error with our own loved ones. 

#1 Break out the family Bingo

No one knows your family better than you. From Dad saying he’s just ‘resting his eyes’ between courses, the cousin that gets way too into the football game, or Grandma’s pecan pie being the favorite course yet again, some things simply never change. This year, lighten the mood by making a game of it! First one to get bingo gets the last slice of pie. *bingo board not included

#2 Celebrate the GOOD in the country.

At the end of the day, this is a time to give thanks. What’s an aspect of America that you’re thankful for? No snark allowed here. 

#3 Tik Tok dances

When in doubt, showcase the moves that you spent all those hours perfecting throughout the course of the pandemic. There’s never a bad time to do a silly dance with your family. 

#4 Find some common ground!

Before things escalate, quickly pivot to something you have in common with the person next to you. You’ll be amazed at where this perspective will lead. 

#5 Quarantine hobby showcase

Did you bake bread? Did you do puzzles? Did you take up crochet? So many of us found ways to pass time in isolation, so share how you spent yours!

#6: Quote Ted Lasso

"You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It's a goldfish. You know why? It's got a 10-second memory." -Ted Lasso

When things seem to be spiraling out of hand, just channel the mustached midwesterner who helped restore our faith in humanity.

#7 Ask questions

Everyone’s favorite topic? Themselves. Steer the conversation by being the one who asks. Quickly pivot away from unwanted topics by stepping in and asking family members questions about themselves. You may learn something fascinating!

#8 Treat everyone with respect

Strive to set an example at your Thanksgiving festivities by treating everyone as you want to be treated. 

#9 Agree to disagree

These words can bring about a swift cease to escalating conflict; don’t be afraid to use them in a pinch. When they go low, you go high.

#10 Mr. Brightside  

If all else fails, queue this up and let The Killers do the rest. No one can resist singing along!