THE BLOG
11/26/2013 11:48 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2014

Ask Michael Cohen: How to Behave at the Thanksgiving Table

This Thanksgiving I am heading to my in-laws and I am dreading what is coming my way. Not only do we have plans to spend the holiday with them, but the entire weekend. I can't fight it because last year we were with my family. Any tips on how to get through the weekend without having a breakdown? Thank you. Anonymous, Chicago

My best tip is to drink yourself through the weekend. No seriously though, I totally understand what you are saying, but it sounds like you are prematurely writing the script. Go there with an open mind because this year the holiday is for him, not you. Don't be the selfish wife. Rest assured, the easier you make it for him with his parents, the more brownie, I mean, 'turkey,' points you will get.

I am heading to New York City for Thanksgiving to spend it with my son and his current girlfriend. Every year it's a new one. I would like to tell him not to bring around these ladies because they are not family, but he is a grown man. What is the appropriate way to behave considering my sentiment? Alice, San Francisco

You answered your own question, he is a grown man, so there isn't too much you can do or say except behave like a lady and supportive parent. You don't want to make the girlfriend of the moment feel totally uncomfortable (mothers have a way of doing that...) and I'm sure your son doesn't want you nagging him (save that for your husband.) Here is what you can do, enjoy NYC, it is beautiful this time of year. Play nice nice with the new girlfriend and don't make any judgments. Surprise him by making this a Thanksgiving he will give thanks for. If it goes well maybe you can meet his New Years Eve girlfriend too.

I am a 19-year-old gay guy and just came 'out of the closet.' My parents have no idea that I like guys and I was thinking I would drop the bomb when I go home for Thanksgiving. I am not sure how they will react and I am kind of nervous. Is there a certain way I should say this? Any ice breakers? Eric, New York City

First, I'm honored you would come to me to answer the question to this important moment in your life. Skip the drama with having them sit down like a patient dog waiting for a bone and don't preface it with the 'I have something to tell you and I don't know how you will feel about it' -- that's already setting up the tone and lacks strength. Just say it, 'I'm gay and I wanted to share this with you because you are my parents and I love you.' It sounds a lot more confident. As for the life update, I'd skip doing it at the Thanksgiving table and would have the conversation the following morning allowing a day of conversation because your parents may need a good Q&A session. Lastly, please stop with the 'out of the closet' expression -- that's for shoes.

Last week I confirmed with a friend that I would be attending her Thanksgiving table. It was sort of last minute and I appreciate the invitation. However, I just found out that two of the guests I can't stand. My friend knows I don't like them either so I'm not sure what she was thinking. Too late to cancel? Thanks. Name withheld, New York City

She was thinking that you probably had no plans and it would be nice to have you at her table. Yes, a great dinner party is about having the right mix of people, but it always doesn't work like that. It's too late to cancel, not to mention immature and rude. Enjoy the other guests (and hopefully the food) and celebrate the good, not the bad. One more tip; always bring two bottles of wine when you are invited to a dinner party. One for the host and another, uh, for you.

Having holiday dilemmas? Write me at mcnewyorkcity@gmail.com