What Not to Talk About at Thanksgiving Dinner

Taboo topics to avoid on the holiday.

ByABC News
November 26, 2014, 11:13 AM
Brad Pitt is pictured in a scene from the "Friends" episode "The One With The Rumor" in 2001.
Brad Pitt is pictured in a scene from the "Friends" episode "The One With The Rumor" in 2001.
Danny Feld/Getty Images

— -- It’s the season for a lot of things, but talking about why you're still not married isn't one of them.

Thanksgiving dinner only happens once a year, so it's best to leave such uncomfortable conversations for another day, and focus on safe topics like the weather, sports or, most importantly, the turkey --unless it's burned, but we'll get to that.

Keep table talk peaceful by avoiding these taboo topics:

"Somebody's Hungry!"

Sure, people like to indulge on Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean you need to point out when someone clears their plate or grabs an extra helping of stuffing.

"You want to avoid commenting on how someone eats," etiquette expert Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute said. "The compliment doesn't always get received that way.

"But you can always compliment the chef," he said. "You can say how good you feel, how good the food was, how full you are."

Religion, Politics and Money

These should be no-brainers: Religion, politics and finances are definitely topics you'll want to avoid during a holiday celebration.

"You just want to be careful," Senning said. "It's not that you're never allowed to talk about these things, but you need to be prepared for people to have legitimate and valid differences of opinion. By definition, that's what makes these potentially controversial."

For some families, heated discussions about politics are almost a holiday tradition. If that's the case, just save those for after dinner, so people who don't want to partake can be left out.

Sex and Relationships

We've all heard the stories of people whose families' use holidays as an opportunity to nag about when they're getting married. Or engaged. Or having kids.

Senning says such "probing questions" should be off limits, but understands they can be hard to avoid when family is around.

"Of course, this is family, people are going to pry," he said. "A great tactic is to turn around and ask someone else what they think, if a conversation is starting to feel a little too personal. Steer the conversation toward safer territory."

When the Food Is Bad

Is the turkey overcooked? Pretend it isn't, and compliment the chef on the mashed potatoes if anyone asks.

"Keep the focus positive," Senning said. "You're there to celebrate."