Thanksgiving is that wonderful time of year where all of your dysfunctional relatives get to be in the same room at once. While they gossip, have food fights, get way too drunk, and sometimes cry, they're family, and we love them. Here's how to deal with the 7 types of relatives you'll have this Thanksgiving.
1. The Braggart
This Thanksgiving guest has spent the past year accumulating success stories, dog photos, and screenshots of award ceremony invitations to shove into your face when you are really only there for the turkey. Thanksgiving, for this guest, is the perfect occasion to let it all loose. They will often display symptoms of word vomit, dramatic shifts in intonation, flamboyant hand gestures, and sometimes, expectoration. Your best bet for this guest is to nod, then swiftly disengage by changing the subject or by refilling your glass. This guest is powered by approval, follow-up questions, and attempts at one-upping. Be sure to avoid all of that.
2. The Silent One
This is the guest that everyone wonders about. He or she has lived for decades without a computer, without a significant other, without a job, and without a word to say at any family function. This guest is always the subject of a hushed-toned conversation by the sink. "You think he's okay?" or "I wonder what she does all day?" This guest most definitely has a secret life or is just socially awkward. Either way, Thanksgiving is total Hell. Symptoms include displaying discomfort as to where to sit, hold his or her hands, or what/when to eat. You'll be this guest's favorite person if you just leave him or her alone.
3. The One Who Keeps Asking if You Want Seconds
We all know (and love) this one. After you've gathered your full plate and have a delectable piece of fully-gravied turkey on your fork, this guest asks, "Who wants seconds!?" Then, when you say you're still on firsts, this guest lectures you about how you're getting too skinny and really need to eat more and are never going to develop healthy bones. To appease this guest, we recommend eating slowly and keeping your plate always full. This will minimize the chance that you will be bothered.
4. The One Who Takes the Turkey Piece You (and Everyone Else) Has Been Eyeing
This. Means. War. This pushy guest will stop at nothing to ruin your Thanksgiving. He or she will, when the dinner is set, get up first in line and take five years to decide which is the most perfect piece of turkey, and then pluck it from its platter to leave you (and other guests) disappointed. The best thing to do around this guest is to get in good with the chef. If you help carve the turkey, chances are, you'll be able to reserve a perfect piece of turkey before the falcons descend.
5. The Interrogator
Thanksgiving is a time for everyone to catch up with one another, but if you're locked into a one-on-one, it can sometimes get a little too intense. This guest will not stop at, "How's it going?" and will take you as far as possible. Symptoms include overbearing proximity, unwavering eye contact, and frantic nods of encouragement. These guests may be journalists, psychologists, or whatever, but their job is not to make you feel uncomfortable during the most comfortable holiday of the year. The best way to combat these questions is to prepare succinct and specific answers. If you answer vaguely, that will only prompt more probing. Another good way to deter these questions is to involve this guest in a holiday activity, like Charades or Pictionary. This will keep the focus on things other than your personal life.
6. The Drunk
At holiday time, everyone's permitted to let go a little bit. But likely, this guest will already be a little tipsy before the party begins. While you can't build a moat around the bar, you can enact this little trick: tell your guests you've whipped up a festive Thanksgiving cocktail (sans alcohol) and serve it 'round. While your Drunk might know the difference, it's worth a shot to deter him or her from the harder stuff. Make sure you offer plenty of water to avoid a Thanksgiving surprise all over the table!
7. The Historian
This guest is probably the elder of the Thanksgiving crew, who remembers the first Thanksgiving during Pilgrim times. He or she will sit at the head of the table, arms outstretched, recalling the joys of the pre-war era to an audience of Millennial eye-rollers. The best thing you can do is listen. While this Historian's stories might be repetitive, it's essential and inspiring to have that perspective. Ask this person questions and make a good time out of it. We guarantee, if you listen, you'll be a lot more entertained than if you zone out.
While we may not like our families, we have to love them. We hope this guide has helped you have a peaceful Thanksgiving.