CINCINNATI -- Modern politics have infiltrated dating, marriage and even our processes for deciding where we want to live. Of course they come up over turkey and stuffing.
Dealing with Thanksgiving political disagreements is an entire seasonal subgenre of tweet, with hyperbolic advice ranging from "yell and throw stuffing" to "give a three-minute speech about why they're wrong" to "channel these gorgeous K-Pop boys." (Everything on Twitter comes back to K-Pop eventually.)
In reality, you don't have to memorize a dance routine or turn green beans into projectiles, relationship therapist Christy Haas said Wednesday night. You just need to be ready.
"If you know Uncle Jerry is going to be saying things that might be triggering or might be difficult or might initiate really difficult conversation, taking a deep breath, understanding that that's going to be part of the evening (can help)," she said.
Being ready also means preparing to cope with it and care for yourself if the conversation turns tense or hurtful, she said.
It's not wrong to walk out of the room or serve a response as canned as Kroger cranberry sauce: We can agree to disagree. We're not going to change each other's minds, and that's fine. Change the subject to the dog show or the most recent movie you watched.
Lucy Pipkin, a Cincinnati resident, pointed out that people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender may associate Thanksgiving with re-entering an environment of homophobia and ostracism.
If the holiday especially difficult or even dangerous for you in that sense, Haas said, you can be justified in deciding to skip the event entirely.
"I think you know yourself better than anyone else, and I think if you are not in a space to be able to show up and be present in a situation that is maybe going to be triggering or harmful for you, then take care of yourself," Haas said.
However, it's also not wrong to try to understand your relatives' differing perspectives and think about how their experiences have shaped their beliefs, even if those beliefs are antithetical to your own. That's part of Pipkin's strategy.
"(It's good to be) taking time for yourself, too, like away from family, prepping for that day-of, and also, like, assuming best intent," she said. "Assuming that they love you and want the best for you."