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The non-confrontational person's guide to a Thanksgiving conversation

A traditional Thanksgiving meal at a dinner table — the setting for a potential conversational battle.
A traditional Thanksgiving meal at a dinner table — the setting for a potential conversational battle.
GMVozd/Getty Images

It's that time of year again. You've gathered with a smattering of cousins, in-laws and significant others at the Thanksgiving dinner table, when suddenly someone makes an uncomfortable comment about some hot-button issue. Immigration. Religion. Whether or not you're getting married soon. 

The tension thickens. If you're a person with convictions and patience, you might wade into the thick of the topic, gently but firmly laying out your thoughts. Power to you.

If you're a coward like the rest of us, keep reading.

For some of us, no amount of polite or impolite conversation can help our family members see each other's point of view. It's no wonder that 58 percent of those celebrating Thanksgiving are dreading having to talk about the news or politics at the table — this according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. So if you want to put off some of the potential verbal brawls that inevitably lead to stalemate, and save them for another day, we've made you a handy guide.

A handy guide to avoiding conflict during Thanksgiving table conversations.
A handy guide to avoiding conflict during Thanksgiving table conversations.
KPCC

With some helpful segues, you too can navigate each tricky dinner table situation, diverting potentially heated conversations to more agreeable topics. Why delve into a debate about religion when you can show a cute video of otters holding hands instead?

Download the full-size image here. We recommend printing it out to use as a furtive placemat.

If you use the guide, share a picture and tweet us @kpcc to let us know how it goes. Or don't, if it's going to provoke an argument.

With contributions from Charlotte Duren and Meghan Coyle.