Thanksgiving is coming up. Many people will spend time with family and friends they haven’t seen in a long time. Some people will be indoors with a larger group than they’ve seen in almost two years. And many people are anxious about that.
The time to talk about what everyone needs to feel comfortable at Thanksgiving dinner is now. Don’t wait until Thursday. Consider what you need to feel comfortable and make requests today. Breakdowns are predictable. And what you can predict, you can often prevent.
How many people do you feel comfortable being in the same room and house with? Do all attendees need to be vaccinated? Do you want assigned seating so people sit with people they see regularly? Do you want people to take Covid tests before attending an event? You can likely have whatever you’re willing to ask for. But you likely won’t get what you don’t ask for.
You may be concerned that your requests are too much and thus you’re hesitant to make those requests. If you’re afraid to ask for something, feeling like it’s just too big of an ask, say that. Saying how you feel has a lot of power and is disarming. It could sound something like, “I’m feeling nervous about Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been hesitant to say anything because I don’t want to offend you. Is it ok if I ask a few questions?”
“I haven’t been in the same room as a group of people I don’t know well in a long time. How many people are coming? What requests are you making of guests from a health and safety perspective? Are you comfortable asking that everyone be vaccinated and take a rapid Covid test before arriving?”
Sprinkle your questions into the conversation. Ask for what you really need. Asking these questions of the host before the dinner is a lot less confrontational than telling a guest they’re sitting too close to you and asking if they’re vaccinated. Thinking through your needs and making requests before an event is always easier than trying to change a situation. The best way to prevent an uncomfortable situation is to talk about it before it happens.