SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Thanksgiving is a time for loved ones to gather around the table and eat great food.
However, when the plates are emptied and mouths stop chewing, conversations start and sometimes they lead to uncomfortable situations.
Kristin Smith, LCPC with Behavioral Health Center of Illinois, said the obvious conversations to avoid at the dinner table are politics and religion. However, she warns that sometimes with family, questions turn into personal attacks.
She referenced questions like: When are you getting married? When are you going to have kids? How many Weight Watchers points are in a specific dish?
"Whether it is intentional or not, it's shame based," she explained. "We have these expectations or these goals, so sometimes they will make people feel uncomfortable."
Smith said family members tend to put pressure on other family members when it comes to specific topics about relationship status and personal family decisions.
"I have a catch phrase I tell clients to use, it's 'that's not the support I need from you.'"
To prepare for the holiday, Smith suggested for people to manage the expectations for the day and don't put a lot of pressure on oneself. She even suggested for people to prepare for responses in their head if they know a certain family member will ask that question.
Finally, Smith said when in doubt, just leave the table and take a break.
"Just remember why we are gathering in the first place and really, keep it light," she said.
If a family member has a major concern about another family member, Smith suggested pulling that family member aside and talking to them one-on-one.