If the last time you got together with your entire family was last year during the holidays, then you’ve probably gone through at least a few life changes in the last 12 months — and you can be sure your relatives will want to know every juicy last detail. Sharing major life news with your family is as integral to Thanksgiving as is turkey and pumpkin pie, so get ready to spill. They’ll want to know about your love life, your job, your friends, your future plans — and you will be emotionally exhausted by the end of the meal. Maybe you’ve had some setbacks, and maybe things are still a little too raw to share. Maybe you’re worried about how they’ll react to what you have to say, regardless of whether it's good or bad. I mean, even good news has a way of turning into at least 500 follow-up questions that you might not be prepared to answer.
So how do you deal? They’re your family, after all, and they love you. They ultimately want the best for you, so you know their interrogations come from a loving place (one would hope, anyway). However, it’s your call how and when you choose to share major life news. If you’re not quite ready to do it just yet, or if you’re wondering how to navigate these pressing convos, here’s how to handle the (sometimes) feast of family drama that is Thanksgiving.
When the news is good. . .
You’re engaged? YAY! You got the promotion you’ve been working your ass off for? WOOHOO! If you haven’t set a wedding date or have no idea what your next career goal is because you just achieved this one, then keep saying how excited you are, how wonderful this all is, and how you could not be happier. Remember, it's all about focusing on the positive, here.
Plan ahead, but not really
Give vague, unsure answers to specific questions (like if you’re newly engaged, say “We have some ideas for the wedding date, but we haven’t settled on anything yet”), and your loved ones should get the hint that this is all new to you and you’re just living in the moment.
Talk about how #blessed you are
People eat that sh** up. Be humble, be grateful, be positively baffled that such incredible luck has landed upon you, and your family will just smile excitedly and leave it at that.
When the news is bad. . .
Keep it simple, keep it brief
Assuming your family members have the ability to pick up on verbal cues, they’ll hear your clipped, one-word responses and know that you’re not ready and/or not in the mood to dish. Hopefully then they’ll leave it alone and move on to another subject. If not, just keep this up. Engaging with someone who is the opposite of engaged is not fun for anyone, and gets old quickly.
If tossing out a few white lies is going to keep you from breaking down in tears over a subject so sore you can’t even think about it without feeling completely destroyed, then I’m giving you permission to do so. I will gladly take the heat on this one should you get caught. If your family was expecting to see your significant other at dinner, and you just happened to find him or her in bed with someone else three days prior, just politely say they couldn’t make it. If your family presses you on why, say they had to work or head to their family’s house for dinner instead. You can reveal the horrible truth when you’re good and ready.
Change the subject
Complaining about how early Black Friday sales start every year is something we all do, right? Because seriously, 6 p.m. door busters on Thanksgiving night? That’s nuts. Your grandparents will back you on this one. Whenever you don’t want to discuss something (like the toxic friendship with your childhood bestie that you recently had to end), talk about Black Friday.
Start talking about celebrities
Why talk about your drama when you can talk about someone else's drama? If you lost your job and your aunt is pressing you with career questions like some sort of awkward job interview, distract her. Ask her what she thought of Kim Kardashian's Paper Magazine cover. Seriously, everyone has at least some sort of opinion when it comes to Butt Gate 2014.
When it comes down to it, the people gathered around this table will defend you, protect you, and love you no matter what. So if you’re ready, lay it all out there. Open up, cry, feel all the feels. I’m fairly certain you won’t be met with judgement, just hugs.