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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2013/11/attack-or-stand-down/

The Center for Michigan

Attack or stand down?

If Thanksgiving cooking is so daunting that a poultry producer can set up a 1-800 help line, what advice dedicated to social interaction on the holiday might be helpful?

Marci Raver, an Ann Arbor etiquette expert, admits it’s a tough one: “I’ve found that it is very tricky to drink just enough wine” that one can let a little irritating conversation slide off one’s back, but not feel aroused to answer it. Nevertheless, she has some tips:

Avoidance. When it’s your family, “a much higher level of emotion is involved,” Raver said. “I cannot discuss some things with my parents, who raised me.” So don’t, she advises. And if this is the strategy you want to pursue, make sure you’re prepared with something else to talk about.

“Read the newspaper before you go,” she said. “Know what else is going on in the world.”

If you can’t talk politics, try Prince Fielder.

Go limp. If you can’t avoid a touchy topic coming up, simply refuse to participate. Stand mute, if you have to. Now might be a good time to clear away some plates, or serve pie.

Be the change you want to see in the world. Wes Nakagiri is running for lieutenant governor and runs a Tea Party movement called Retake Our Government. But even in blood-red Livingston County, he said, you have to follow basic rules of common courtesy.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do, to be courteous. You can have differences, but it shouldn’t get to the point of yelling and screaming. What I’ve observed is, once you say ‘What an idiot,’ it shuts down the discussion. I try to remember it can make me a better person, understanding how people view things.”

When the going gets tough, the tough change the subject. The Detroit Lions play on Thanksgiving Day. Surely there will be something else to complain about.

Staff Writer Nancy Nall Derringer has been a writer, editor and teacher in Metro Detroit since 2005.

4 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. ***

    When the Lions start messing up in the game a quick “same old Lions” comment should help to direct the conversation away from more touchy subjects. LOL.

    1. Pete

      I’m glad you didn’t say, “If” :)

  2. Z

    So the passive-aggressive, “Why would you say that?” is out?

    1. ***

      It should be out, these are the Lions after all and who would disagree? LOL

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