You're seated next to someone and you have no idea what to talk about...
We all know the feeling of getting through the usual small talk with someone and not knowing where to take the conversation next. This can be particularly difficult when it's someone you don't know well and are unsure of his or her interests. Now is the time to pull out your inner investigator and use some questions to find common ground. Asking about travel experiences and plans, books, music, holiday memories and the like is a good way to start. Be an active listener and make follow up inquiries to keep the conversation going.
Uncomfortable topics make their way into conversation. Help!
When politics or religion or economic policy discussion comes to the table it doesn't bode well for the enjoyment of all, so avoid it! Yes, it can be fun to have a debate, especially when you are passionate about a subject, but Thanksgiving dinner is not the time or place.
You just KNOW your cousin is going to ask again about your single status.
This sort of prying is completely expected and, some might even argue, acceptable in a private or intimate setting with your family or close friends. However, you have no obligation to respond to these sort of inquiries. So what can you do to avoid such conversations? Your main method of defense is to deflect the questions.
One of my favorite ways to do this is to turn the question back on the questioner: "Remind me, how did you and (insert name of significant other) meet?" "How long have you and (insert name here) been together?" "Speaking of romance, I'm sure you and (insert lover of questioner) have some great plans for the upcoming year! Tell me all about it." This should get your point across while also serving as a great distraction and new avenue for conversation.
Your host begins to clean up, but insists he doesn't need any help.
Ask once, ask twice, and accept denial on the third time. Sometimes a host can't help but begin to straighten up but still wants his guests to enjoy each others company and linger at the table. Just remember that the host in charge of the meal and guests should follow his lead.
Here is information about general dinning etiquette.
And here are some ideas for hostess gifts.
Once you enjoy a great meal, here is how you should craft your thank you note.
Check out all sorts of etiquette posts here.
What are your suggestions for getting through and enjoying Thanksgiving?