The secret to avoiding Thanksgiving interrogations

Talking about favorite floats from the Macys Thanksgiving Parade is another great way for seniors to avoid the awkward college conversation.

Photo by Ryan Weiner

Talking about favorite floats from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is another great way for seniors to avoid the awkward college conversation.

By Ryan Weiner, Editor-in-Chief

The date is Nov. 24: Thanksgiving. The air is crisp, brown leaves fall from the tall trees in the front yard as fall’s beauty starts to fade into a cold winter. Luckily, inside the house is warm, as large plates of turkey, stuffing and cornbread make their way to the table. 

As the family sits down, everyone is interested to hear about how the lives of their relatives are. Well, everyone except for the high school senior. For them, they are about to endure a barrage of questions regarding college and their future. This conversation never goes well. But, how can this conversation be avoided? Here’s a list of five conversation topics to help steer away from the awkward college discussion. 

Thanksgiving Football Games:

While this may not work for a family that dislikes sports, Thanksgiving football games are a big part of the holiday. Many families play their own pickup games, in addition to watching the three games the NFL has every year. 

Discussing football will likely bring out the competitive juices that exist at the table, which will certainly steer the conversation far away from college. However, by discussing this, one can expect to have to bear with the bragging and trash talk that comes with discussing sports around a big family. Overall, there are definitely some pros and cons that come with this topic but it can get the job done well, especially in sports-oriented families. 


One of the most common family traditions on Thanksgiving is sharing things that each person is grateful for. Therefore, it also serves as a great time-waster for any high school senior trying to avoid talking about the college process. 

However, normally this tradition only takes a couple of minutes. So how can one extend the time it takes? The answer is simple. Ask clarifying questions, especially to older adults. Older adults love to go into detail about their lives to just about anyone who is willing to listen and therefore they are easy targets to extend the conversation. Will it cause a few dirty glances from other young cousins? Maybe. But, thankfulness is quite the easy way to get relatives off the topic of college. 

The Food:

Food is a huge part of Thanksgiving, with a turkey being the quintessential symbol of the holiday. With that being said, many families have their own traditional foods at the Thanksgiving table depending on their ethnic background. Regardless, the food is always something easy to talk about, as it is right in front of everybody at the table.

If there is genuinely a notable food worth complimenting, then one can easily use that to start a conversation. If not, try to note which foods the chattiest people have made and compliment them on their cooking. People love to brag about their recipes and the cooking process, so this seemingly simple conversation topic will make for an easy distraction.

Funny Stories:

Yes, this conversation topic can certainly be risky. If the crowd at the table lacks a sense of humor, things can go downhill quickly. But, if everyone can take a joke, then telling a funny story is one of the most foolproof ways to avoid the college conversation.

By telling a funny story, one has complete control over the length and topic of the conversation as well as what gets to be said while everyone else just has to listen. 

Family Heritage:

If there is one thing families can talk about for hours, it is their ancestral heritage. Bonus points for this topic if the dinner is taking place at an older relative’s house where they are likely to pull out family trees, old photos or other artifacts. 

Do teens care about their great-great-great-grandfather? Likely not. But, it provides many of the  key interrogators with the floor to talk about something they are passionate about for an unlimited time. 

However, if teens are interested in their family heritage then this topic can be super interesting, as the relics older relatives have are often rare and important to the family’s history. 

While Thanksgiving ‘dinner talk’ can be a very stressful time for high school seniors, there is no lack of unique and effective conversation topics to stall time and take the conversation away from the subject of college. By utilizing these topics, teens will be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinners with ease.