BOSTON — Thanksgiving is a day to come together around the table and enjoy a bit of turkey, but for some people, this is a cause for anxiety. Is part of that problem the talk around the table? What is off-limits this year?
“Anything politics because everyone has different views,” said Michael Breiz, who moved to Boston from California, “‘It’s kind of why I moved 3,000 miles away – to figure out life on my own and to live it the way I want to.”
“You just try to keep the peace, that is what I do at least,” said Valerie Cyrus, a visitor from Tennessee, “My husband is more inflammatory. He likes to poke and prod.”
The most common responses for “table talk no-nos” were politics and religion. Several people also took love off the table. They don’t want to field questions about who they are dating.
“The biggest one is relationships. They go hard into it. Bringing someone around, they get grilled. It’s the third degree that they get,” said Briez.
“New love, stay away from that,” added Cyrus.
“A lot of it is that dating has become really complex for a lot of people in our modern society,” explained Alexandra Gold, a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, “It can be stressful to be in that dating scene and then have people weighing in on it and asking about it. It can add a lot of pressure.”
Gold suggests people avoid topics that are polarizing or highly controversial. Instead, she encourages people to steer the conversation toward topics that are positive or of general interest. She also thinks families should talk about what to say before the family meets the relatives.
“It’s a special year. We had some challenges in the family, so we’re super excited to be here and celebrate being together,” said the Evansick family, a group we spoke to who moved from New England to Florida, but they are back for the holiday, “You never know what’s going to happen. Family is family. It’s unconditional.”