CurlTalk

Would it be wrong to come up with a list of topics appropriate for dinner convo?

SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
The problem is my mom. She's a political activist, ALL (and I'm not generalizing, I actually mean ALL) of her conversations are about something horrible happening somewhere. She seems to be actually incapable of making small talk.

We've tried steering the conversation back to more neutral topics such as... um... the weather? Or books? But when we do that she gets angry (later. At dinner she'll just clam up and stop talking all together and look pissed then write us an angry letter saying how hurt she was).

My sister, daughter, friends and I are not the only ones who are bothered by this. I heard a friend of hers say when we were all at the beach one day last summer, "Look, I'm here to enjoy myself. I really don't want to hear about who was stabbed in Springfield last week."

So I'm thinking about Thanksgiving and trying to find a tactful way to handle it possibly ahead of time but I just can't. I suppose an actual printed list of acceptable dinner conversation would be out of the question. But then again, so would saying to my mom, "Now, listen, mom. we really don't want to talk about police brutality or they loss of the Marshall Islands due to global warming."

And to be clear: The rest of us are NOT unaware and apathetic. We just don't want to talk about it at dinner.

Suggestions?
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Comments

  • NarniaNarnia Posts: 1,770Registered Users
    No suggestions only sympathy. I know someone like this and it can really be draining. I just try to throw him off by trying to make light and dragging the conversation to something not al heavy. Clearly that isn't an option for you here though.
    Just wanted to say I know what that's like.


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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    I think it's already established that your mom is not going to change OR be controlled. No matter how diplomatically you try. I think the best you can hope for is to warn everyone ahead of time to please try not to be offended and just redirect the conversation back to something more pleasant.

    GOOD LUCK! And, remember, it's only one day. :)
  • WileE-DeadWileE-Dead Banned Posts: 24,963Banned Users
    We'll usually just get up and walk away...
    Your mom is something else!
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  • LotsawavesLotsawaves Posts: 8,660Registered Users
    If this was an acquaitance, would you even invite her to ruin your Thanksgiving? Would you invite her knowing that you would have to warn her and your other guests knowing that she won't even listen to you? I think you enable this woman. She may be your mom, but she is an adult and needs to understand that YOU will not tolerate her actions. I think she needs to grow up and deal with life. She won't do this if you and everyone else just deal with it. You just need to let go. She may be your mom, but you really don't need her drama in your life. It's ok. You really need to know it's ok to let it go. I recently let my mom go. She is dying, but she is such ***** and doesn't really care about anyone but herself. It was really hard, but I realized that my life needs to revolve around those who I love and love me. I think we get caught with family obligations, but we really need to see them as people and if we really want them in our lives.
    From Michael Berg:

    Every person has a unique connection to the Creator that can never be extinguished, and every person has a great soul that can manifest important things in our world. To make a person feel less than they are because of something inside themselves, be it faith, race, or sexual orientation, is the greatest sin of all."
  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,937Registered Users
    I think your mom probably knows what appropriate dinner conversation sounds like, she just can't pass up a captive audience and a list will only start her off pouting. It might be worth making a mental lists of subject changers so that you can quickly cut her off and redirect and then just let her pout and write letters. Ignore the pouting, ignore the letters. You are not going to change her and she's clearly not going to adapt even a little for the sake of oh, everyone else in the room.
  • BiancaBianca Posts: 2,492Registered Users
    I think having her clam up and writing an angry letter (that would immediately go in the trash anyway) is a fine option.

    That's just me though. :dontknow:
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  • kasdenkasden Posts: 1,040Registered Users
    I would have a talk with her before dinner and come up with a key phrase and keep repeating it. "Mom, I really want to have some pleasant conversation over dinner today. Yadda yadda yadda...pleasant conversation...yadda yadda yadda...pleasant conversation." Then when she strays away from the pleasant conversation, casually mention it again...and now back to some pleasant conversation.

    And yes, I would definitely have a list of pleasant conversation topics! Good luck and please let us know how it goes!
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  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,970Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Narnia wrote: »
    No suggestions only sympathy. I know someone like this and it can really be draining. I just try to throw him off by trying to make light and dragging the conversation to something not al heavy. Clearly that isn't an option for you here though.
    Just wanted to say I know what that's like.


    Posted from my "smart"phone. 'scues crazy typos

    I know what that's like also. Don't know what to suggest - really, it's so rude and inconsiderate. It's like they have a well of rage and bitterness inside that spews out when they have an audience. I hope you find a way to shut her up or deflect the venom.
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  • legendslegends Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    I don't think there's anything you can do. Bringing it up before dinner is going to piss her off, and would probably result in her just not talking at all and then giving you crap about how much you hurt her feelings.
    Eres o te haces?
  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users
    your mom can come to my house.
    i'd love to discuss the loss of the marshall islands (are they really gone?? i'll have to google that).
    my dad likes to stay focused on only discussing politics or the weather in order to avoid talking about important more personal matters.
  • missbanjomissbanjo Posts: 3,088Registered Users
    I'd just state "no activism discussions at the table." If she didn't like it, oh well. If she gets pouty and just has to write that letter later I'd write one back telling her exactly how I feel about her table talk. I don't take any crap from family.
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  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users
    I think it's already established that your mom is not going to change OR be controlled. No matter how diplomatically you try. I think the best you can hope for is to warn everyone ahead of time to please try not to be offended and just redirect the conversation back to something more pleasant.

    GOOD LUCK! And, remember, it's only one day. :)
    CGNYC wrote: »
    I think your mom probably knows what appropriate dinner conversation sounds like, she just can't pass up a captive audience and a list will only start her off pouting. It might be worth making a mental lists of subject changers so that you can quickly cut her off and redirect and then just let her pout and write letters. Ignore the pouting, ignore the letters. You are not going to change her and she's clearly not going to adapt even a little for the sake of oh, everyone else in the room.
    Both of these. I think you're doomed.
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  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users
    I think it would be appropriate for the rest of you to agree to keep the conversation appropriate. After all, it's also wrong for one person to monopolize the conversation. Is there a way for you, or someone else to sort of make a statement at the beginning of the meal to remind everyone that this day is for giving thanks for the good we have in our lives? Maybe as part of, or right after saying Grace, if your family says Grace. Some families like to go around the table and each person states something he is thankful for. If you do it right, maybe your mom could go last and there won't be much time left for her to go in her usual negative direction.

    I don't know if any of that helps, but I also agree that changing the subject is fine, and if there is pouting and/or a negative letter, then fine. If she expects a response to the letter, and you want to give one, than a simple, "sorry you were offended, but the rest of us find that subject upsetting and not okay for the dinner table."

    I hope you find a way to work it out.
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  • LotsawavesLotsawaves Posts: 8,660Registered Users
    I don't think she is doomed. She just needs to stand up and say "Hey, mom I'm not inviting you because you make any family/friend event your stage and you don't care to have your event ruined. Mom needs a reality check and she needs to grow up. She then will have the option of coming and being an adult or staying home. It should be her option. If she shows up and starts her crap, show her the door. You warned her beforehand. Like I said before, stop enabling this woman.
    From Michael Berg:

    Every person has a unique connection to the Creator that can never be extinguished, and every person has a great soul that can manifest important things in our world. To make a person feel less than they are because of something inside themselves, be it faith, race, or sexual orientation, is the greatest sin of all."
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
    Springcurl wrote: »
    I heard a friend of hers say when we were all at the beach one day last summer, "Look, I'm here to enjoy myself. I really don't want to hear about who was stabbed in Springfield last week."

    How did that work out for the friend? Did your Mom back off from the morbid and politically charged conversations?

    If she shut up for the friend, it means she is capable of being a better conversationalist.

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • WiregirlWiregirl Posts: 1,695Registered Users
    Springcurls...we have the same Mother....all she talks about is Nancy Grace and murdered little children!
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
    Wiregirl wrote: »
    Springcurls...we have the same Mother....all she talks about is Nancy Grace and murdered little children!

    Bombshell tonight! <cue dramatic music>

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    mrspoppers wrote: »
    I think it's already established that your mom is not going to change OR be controlled. No matter how diplomatically you try. I think the best you can hope for is to warn everyone ahead of time to please try not to be offended and just redirect the conversation back to something more pleasant.

    GOOD LUCK! And, remember, it's only one day. :)
    CGNYC wrote: »
    I think your mom probably knows what appropriate dinner conversation sounds like, she just can't pass up a captive audience and a list will only start her off pouting. It might be worth making a mental lists of subject changers so that you can quickly cut her off and redirect and then just let her pout and write letters. Ignore the pouting, ignore the letters. You are not going to change her and she's clearly not going to adapt even a little for the sake of oh, everyone else in the room.
    Both of these. I think you're doomed.

    LOL. I think we're doomed, too.

    I think the ting is we can all talk about stuff related to our life-- my sister can talk about her new baby or her acupuncture business, my daughter can talking about preparing from Brazil, I can talk about my pug dog or derby. But since activisim IS my mother's life and that's all she does and all she wants to do, when we ask her not to talk about it she says, "But I listen to things going on in YOUR life."

    We'll, luckily we DO have the 10 month old baby this year to keep us all occupied.
    TWINKLES.gifTWINKLES.gifTWINKLES.gif

    Obamacare is not a blueprint for socialism. You're thinking of the New Testament. ~~ John Fugelsang



  • LotsawavesLotsawaves Posts: 8,660Registered Users
    Maybe just put the baby in her arms and hope she will shut up. Doubtful, but worth a try. To me this is way too much drama over "one" person, who really doesn't give a crap about anyone else. Oh wait, she has her causes. I have to wonder how much she really cares about that. I think she just wants babble about it.
    From Michael Berg:

    Every person has a unique connection to the Creator that can never be extinguished, and every person has a great soul that can manifest important things in our world. To make a person feel less than they are because of something inside themselves, be it faith, race, or sexual orientation, is the greatest sin of all."
  • MichelleBFTMichelleBFT Posts: 4,812Registered Users
    Bianca wrote: »
    I think having her clam up and writing an angry letter (that would immediately go in the trash anyway) is a fine option.

    That's just me though. :dontknow:

    I'm with Bianca. If she can't play well with others, then she can be huffy about it and I wouldn't worry about it. That's her cross to bear.
    "And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
    Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
    Stolen.
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    LOL, your mom would fit in great at our family dinners... lots of politics, lots of activists, lots of debate and that's the way we like it. I'd prefer her topics to a lot of the other inane stuff people want to talk about!

    That being said, part of social skills is knowing your audience and going with consensus, so if you're the ONLY one who wants to talk politics, then you should have the sense to realize you should talk about a safer topic. If I go to my husband's relatives, I stay off politics because #1 their views annoy me and probably vice versa, and #2 it's usually not in their comfort zone to talk about it.

    If your mom doesn't have the ability to realize this and adjust, then I agree - either don't invite her and deal with the consequences, or invite her, warn everyone, try redirecting her if possible and deal with her huffiness if she gets mad - toss her angry letter and enjoy the silence if she clams up. She's not going to change now. You could also go with the flow and see if engaging in her topic for a while is really that bad, and if it is, just change the subject.
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • rileybrileyb Posts: 1,975Registered Users
    I would probably just say all super pleasant after she starts with a depressing story, something like 'Oh WOW, that's AWFUL, why don't we talk about something happier, today is a day for us to focus on POSITIVE things.' And keep saying things to that effect. If she does it multiple times, I'd probably just ask her pointblank why she is so insistent on ruining everyone's dinner with depressing news and then let her pout and write letters to her heart's content, which I would ignore. I mean, saying 'I listen to what's going on in YOUR lives' is only analogous if you guys only talk about miserable depressing stuff from your lives - which would be just as irritating.
    I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    What if you have a little ritual to acknowledge her political stuff. Like a little blessing or secular blessing where you remember all those who are suffering around the world and let your mom go to town. And then have normal conversation the rest of the time. And tell her before hand that you realize the activism is important to her and you want to acknowledge it, but you also want to talk about other things and enjoy the day. Would that work or would it only encourage her to go even more overboard?

    (P.S. this is straight out of my "how to handle stubborn toddlers" playbook. )
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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    Those are great suggestions of riley and geeky.

    Re-reading this, it doesn't sound as if your mom is as much of a "political activist" as a "negative nellie." Talking about how many people are getting stabbed in Springfield isn't really an "activist" topic to me - an "activist" topic is talking about why the government's crime policy is misguided. I'd be into talking about the second, but not so much the first.

    I agree - if everything is just kept really, really positive there won't be as much room for negativity. I like the idea of everyone going around and saying what they are thankful for. We do that at our Thanksgiving. There are also lots of positive things people in your family are doing that you can focus on - doesn't your sister have a new little one, and your daughter is married and off on new adventures, and you're rollerblading and losing weight.... I'd just talk a lot about those so she will really have to work to bring up her stuff. We also acknowledge the suffering in the world in our opening grace and you could do that in a secular way, too.
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


    .png


    534Pm5.png





  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users
    My boys do that. They get rather obsessive about some things. Sometimes they talk so much about it they get in trouble because they won't stop after being asked repeatedly. Occasionally it ends with them storming off to their room.

    If I had to deal with an adult acting like that, I'd treat them like a child and be rather obvious about it.
  • LotsawavesLotsawaves Posts: 8,660Registered Users
    Do you have a "time out" chair?

    I understand where Amneris is coming from. If you are in a family who are really into politics, sports, or whatever you are all going to discuss it. It's interesting convo for all. I feel like your mom is a Debbie Downer and wants everyone to be down like her. There are so many horific things happening in our world today. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for what we do have. We always go around the table and tell what we are thankful for. There is nothing negative that day. Maybe your mom should read this topic.
    From Michael Berg:

    Every person has a unique connection to the Creator that can never be extinguished, and every person has a great soul that can manifest important things in our world. To make a person feel less than they are because of something inside themselves, be it faith, race, or sexual orientation, is the greatest sin of all."
  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users
    Lotsawaves wrote: »
    Do you have a "time out" chair?

    No, but I've threatened it. It works sometimes.
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
    Lotsawaves wrote: »
    I feel like your mom is a Debbie Downer and wants everyone to be down like her.

    It would be funny if every time she says something that's a downer, the whole group would make that Debbie Downer noise.. "wah, wah, ..." Or, record it on your cell phone and hit play.

    Debbie Downer Noise - YouTube

    Don't mind me, I just cracked myself up picturing it! :)

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • wavyblondewavyblonde Posts: 1,637Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    She does sound like Debbie Downer!

    BUT...here's what I'm wondering. I'm wondering if she is a person that wants to accomplish a grand purpose in life and look at the big picture, etc, and maybe she can't stand listening to all the day-to-day minutiae conversations about diapers and taxes and work. Maybe the activism stuff is stuff that feeds her brain, and she's just as miserable listening to people talk about their lives as y'all are about her politics and current events stuff. I know my eyes glaze over when conversations turn to how much diapers cost at this store as compared to that one, no matter how much I love the people having the conversation.

    Maybe a compromise is in order?
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  • curlylew66curlylew66 Posts: 1,685Registered Users
    I bought this game for my Goddaugther that we went to visit last month.
    Her and her mother moved because of divorce and we hadn't seen her for about four years.
    I thought this would be a cute game for her and friends to play and us too.
    We read a few cards but had dinner plans so we didn't get to actually play the game. I actually want to get another and the relish the moment looks fun too.
    CatchupGame.com

    Maybe you could go thru the cards and place them around the table.
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