Table Talk



Some folks enjoy gathering around the holiday table visiting and reminiscing about the good ol days. But for some, table time can be painful, especially when old stories become fodder for “digging in” and humiliating others. I believe there are positive ways to deal with bad table manners that can change course, providing a more celebratory holiday. Nobody likes to be caught off guard, but if you’ve been around these folks since you were knee high, you kinda know what to expect, right? So make a plan, and even practice your proper response ahead of time. Here are a few ideas on how to talk back:

  • Use self-deprecating humor: “And that’s only what you know about.” Or “Would you expect anything less from a Thompson?”
  • Compliment: “I love how you always tell a good tale.” Or “It’s beautiful how you keep this family together loving each other.”
  • Admit to the bad behavior: “Yep, I’ve done a lot of crazy things and I’ve learned a lot from them.”
  • Deflect: Connect with your inner politician and change the channel; “Oh my goodness you aren’t going to believe what happened to me the other day,” or “Did you read the news about…”
  • Take a hike: Yep, if the table gets too hot then just dismiss yourself and say, “I’ll be right back, don’t wait for me.” Then go on a walk in the fresh air and allow yourself to reset.
  • Keep perspective: The important thing to remember is that life is brief, and we’ve been given just a few short years on this planet to show love and kindness, even when it’s not earned. Just think of it as a holiday gift.


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