If, by some unfortunate chance, you are seated next to one of the following people, do not fret! Do not go hide in the bathroom! Do not ask for a new seat! Merely follow these simple pointers to get you through the meal and to dessert:
1. The Complainer. He is skillful at what he does -- complaining -- and that is because he has had ample time practicing it. He complains about work, about his kids, about his wife, and just in time for Thanksgiving, he will surely go on a rant about how lumpy the mashed potatoes are, how runny the gravy is and how long it is taking to cook the blasted turkey.
Tip: The Complainer is nothing a glass of wine -- for you and for him -- can't solve.
2. The Gossiper. She has a lot to say, and yet, she somehow manages to say nothing of any real substance. She knows who lost a job, who is having an affair, and who hides their booze in the cookie jar. Her goal? To make sure everyone at the table knows it too. Although she appears friendly, beware. The next topic of her conversation could be you.
Tip: A large glass of wine should do the trick. But be sure The Gossiper doesn't sneak a sip or the entire table will quickly find out who there claims to be on a diet but was reportedly last seen at the Krispy Kreme drive thru and suspiciously licking his fingers at the traffic light.
3. The Feigned Interest Guy. He will ask how you are doing, and yet, you get the impression that he really could not care less. You question if your response was too long or too boring or if you are just being overly sensitive. It wasn't, and you aren't. In reality, he would rather watch the football game on TV than listen to your story.
Tip: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Maybe a glass or three of wine will help you feign an interest in the football game.
4. The-My-Kids-Are-The-Greatest Parents. These parents believe that their children are -- without a doubt -- the greatest people to have ever walked the face of the earth. They will enthusiastically report that their children excel at everything -- playing the jazz violin, speaking French and mastering the ancient of art of Tae Kwon Do. Secretly, their children hate them for bragging, because all the other kids at the table
Tip: Wine. Why not?
5. The Pie Maker. Before dinner even starts, immediately locate the Pie Maker. Sincere, kind and loving, you may easily be able to convince her to sneak you a piece -- or two -- of pie. And in that case, you can avoid all of the above (except for maybe the wine) and make your escape before the turkey is even carved.