If your family lives too far away or you’re too broke to fly out for Thanksgiving, congratulations — you’re spared from awkward conversations with your politically disparate relatives! But if you’re lucky, you’ll still get a chance to experience the warmth of a Turkey Day gathering with people you actually like: your friends. If you’re hosting and have carefully curated your guest list, a few generous “plus ones” can usher in some odd characters. Conversely, if you’re just a guest at somebody else’s party, get ready to experience the weird and wonderful cross-section of their social circle. At any grouping of individuals, there are bound to be certain types you’ll cross paths with. These are the people you’re likely to run into at any Friendsgiving:
The Friend of a Friend
You don’t know this person. The host doesn’t know this person. Only one person at the dinner knows this person.
This person brought, at best, a bag of chips (no dip). They’ve got the gall to ask for Tupperware to take home leftovers, too.
The Surprise Drunk
Could be your buttoned-up coworker or a friend from Zumba, either way once the bottles get popped, this person gets too lit, too quickly.
Everyone has one, and frankly if there weren’t some tangential blood relation, they probably wouldn’t have been invited. That’s what you get for moving to the same city as someone you played with maybe twice at the lake house when you were kids.
The October Surprise Date
You met them while buying day-of discount Halloween candy in the grocery store line, so why not invite them to Thanksgiving dinner?
You don’t know their name. You don’t know their story. All you know is you saw them at the mailbox, politely asked “what are you doing for Thanksgiving?” and then felt bad when they said “nothing.”
You either feel bad for them or you can’t get over them. Either way, they’re showing up to break bread and, at the very least, increase your chances of a post-binge hookup.
Try as you might to tamp down on anyone disrupting your ideal dinner party, someone you'd rather aschew will weasel their way into the mix. Remember: when "weird Devon" from IT asks "doing anything fun on Thursday?" always make him answer first.
You think you know about politics/popular culture/early 12th century monastic breweries, but you have no idea! Get ready to be interrupted multiple times with an “actually…”
The Christmas Evangelist
We get it, Christmas is coming. We all love Christmas. Christmas is great. Let’s just give Thanksgiving a chance ok?
This person went to high school with Scarlet Johansson or was the assistant to Tom Brady’s publicist or used to date a Kardashian. Get ready for whatever that one degree of separation is to be dropped super casually into the conversation.
The Conversation Hijacker
Everything has to be turned into a game, competition or production. Turkey basting? Jousting. Saying grace? A church choir rendition. Passing the salt? Pick-up football on the dinner table.
Oh cool, you just worked your web series into a conversation! Oh wow, nobody asked about the novel you wrote but somehow we’re talking about it! Oh, do these potatoes really remind you of spending last summer in Peru?
The High Maintenance Chef
Everything must be perfect, but “would have been even better if you had oregano shipped from this amazing farm that I vacationed at last summer.”
Someone’s doing it. It’s not you. Frankly, it could be anyone. Like serial killers, farters look just like everyone else.
The Shitty Cook
The host will say “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” and they’ll be right. Let’s just say there’ll be plenty of leftovers of whatever this person brings.
The Restricted Eater
Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, Presbyterian. Whatever their reasons, these folks will have a problem with just about everything on the table. Not that there’s anything wrong with having dietary convictions, it’s just that a Turducken doesn’t taste as good when you’re being scowled at.
God bless them for spending Thanksgiving with half a dozen people a full dozen years their junior. The Elder doesn’t get the same references or have the same taste in music, but they can regale you with stories from the good old days: the 1980s.
Stick with the dog. This is your only true friend, your rock, your anchor.