Ten Ways to Avoid Stupid Holiday Chit Chat

Ten Ways to Avoid Stupid Holiday Chit Chat

Lauren PesinTuesday,1 December 2015

I can’t be the only one that has a relative or two who always chooses to bring up conversation topics that should be avoided. You know the topics we all generally agree should be avoided (if we want to keep the peace and reduce the risk of physically and emotionally abusive fights), especially at work and family functions, such as holiday parties. The topics include politics, religion, sex, health or body issues, and marriage problems.

Over Thanksgiving dinner, as my conservative father-in-law began to discuss the problems with the current U.S. political administration and state of the world, I began to ponder ways to avoid such topics (mostly to avoid stabbing myself in the brain with a fork).

If: a relative begins to talk about how they and the ball and chain haven’t had sex in six months; Uncle Charlie describes in detail his wrinkled low hanging fruit; Auntie Doris banters about her soon-to-be ex-husband’s whore girlfriend; Granny proclaims the world is going to “hell in a handbasket” because ‘Murica needs more Jesus; or cousin Ray decides the holiday party is a perfect place to showcase his new camo-pattern composite hunting bow (he doesn’t hunt) and new Glock semi-automatic, the following ten responses should help you control the chatter:

1. Pretend to be in need: perhaps a sudden bout of dysentery, a need of medication, a critical desire for pie or beverage (specifically alcoholic), or a need to check on a child or spouse.

2. Indicate your desire to help: in the kitchen, during clean-up, with unruly children; or even offer to pick up a stranded friend or forgotten relative.

3. Agree with everything (and listen to nothing): Use expressions every few minutes, such as, “I know. I know.” “Yeah.” “I understand.” “You got it.” Also, make sure to nod every few minutes to look like you are participating. If you’re truly talented, you can fit in an ear bud or two and listen to your favorite tunes as the mindless drivel drones on.

4. Refuse to participate: Either exit the area where the discussions are occurring, tell the perpetrators they are stupid (or whatever adjective you deem appropriate), or verbally indicate you are not taking part (e.g. say, “Fuck No!” Drop the mic and exit stage left).

5. Violate the rules: Regardless of what you actually believe, bring up conversations of great controversies, such as: how the pyramids were not built by Jewish slaves (particularly amusing during Passover), or how there is no actual historical evidence Jesus existed (particularly hysterical or dangerous during a Christmas feast). You can also discuss your or your partner’s desire for a labia reduction or the benefits of a high-colonic.

6. Act drunk or high: You can choose to slur your words, talk extremely loud, fall down, repeat words, or act lost, confused, or agitated. In some crowds, suddenly becoming louder and unruly may exacerbate the debate. Choose this response wisely.

7. Pretend you have a hard time hearing: Keep asking them to repeat themselves, “What? What? What did you say?” This is especially useful if you are an older person or have combat experience. Eventually, they will get frustrated and give up.

8. Fake an illness: Hold your stomach, moan purposely or motion like you are about to hurl in reaction to an exceptionally undesirable prattle (for extra points, pass gas if possible).

9. Become really boring: Bring up topics such as grammar rules, spelling, the evolution of language, or the history of just about anything. This will only work for the less intellectual crowd. A smart crowd may enjoy these shifts in discussions. Then you may be trapped in a loop of boredom. Execute with caution.

10. Respond inappropriately: If someone brings up politics, respond with a comment on the weather. If someone discusses religion, talk about the newest teen romance novel (make something up if you don’t know one…I promise someone has written about whatever banal shit you can fabricate). Or, if the conversation heads down the domestic controversy road, talk sports teams.

Whatever ways you choose to respond to relatives, co-workers, friends or strangers are up to you. Just know, you have choices. You don’t have to partake in stupid party talk (even if it’s Granny).

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Image Credit: Jesse757 on Flickr

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