So, you just got word that your conservative relative is coming to Thanksgiving. Y’know, the one who keeps sharing hoax memes about litter boxes in classrooms on Facebook? The one who still won’t admit that President Biden won the 2020 election fair and square?
Uff-da! That could be a recipe for an awkward family dinner. Luckily, you can keep the peace and have a happy holiday with some classic Minnesota Nice strategies.
For when you want to have the conversation
If you’ve got the energy and the will to make your case to your relative, good for you! Just make sure you go into the conversation prepared.
There are three important tips to remember: ask questions, speak the truth, and focus on what’s really happening. Here’s what that looks like…
Ask questions. If someone makes a claim that really doesn’t sound right, ask them, “what makes you think that?” or “where did you hear that?”
Speak the truth. This step focuses on sticking to the facts. Let your relative know what you know to be true. If you can, think about sending your relative an article about the topic from a trusted source.
Focus on what’s really happening. Do your best to stay calm and on-topic. Don’t make any personal attacks. Try to make your relative feel heard, while making it clear that you disagree with them.
Whatever the outcome, you can feel proud knowing that you spoke up.
But if you don’t think there’s any point in having a conversation at all, here’s what you can do…
“Ope, I’m just gonna sneak past ya and _____.”
Need to gracefully exit a frustrating conversation? This is where the “ope” is essential. You can say, “ope, just gonna sneak past ya and see if aunt Lena needs some help in the kitchen,” or “ope, I think I left my headlights on. Just gonna sneak past ya and turn ’em off.” You can “ope” your way out of practically any uncomfortable situation.
If you can’t leave the conversation, there’s “that’s interesting.” This phrase is Minnesota’s original “OK Boomer.” It’s for when you have something to say, but it’s just not worth getting into, because the person you’re talking to won’t want to hear it anyway. If your relative is trying to bait you with a far-right conspiracy theory, all you have to do is nod and say, “that’s interesting.” Then, change the subject. Simple. Efficient. Minnesota Nice.
Talk about the weather
How about this wind, huh? I wonder if we’ll get any snow before the end of the month! It’s not too cloudy; you think we’ll be able to see some stars tonight?
The weather is one subject that Minnesotans can talk about forever. Your relative won’t even be thinking about politics because they’ll be too busy telling the story of where they were during the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 (again).
Put on some Prince
And crank it up! It’s hard to have an argument when everybody is dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Round up the kids for a game of Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
Ditch the adults altogether. Your little nephews, nieces, and cousins are probably bored of watching reruns of holiday movies, anyway. Sit them all down in a circle and show them how to play the ONLY CORRECT VERSION of this classic game. Oh, fer fun!
When all else fails, just eat.
Sorry, can’t talk! This wild rice hot dish is just so DELICIOUS!