Awkward family dinners are a staple of every family. Whether it's a holiday celebration with relatives you don't know well or a casual meal at home, everyone has had to sit through at least one very uncomfortable dinner they'll never be able to forget.
“She Ruined The Holiday For Everyone”
“My mother had a complete meltdown moments before our guests arrived. I don’t even remember what set her off, but she grabbed the edge of the table and just tipped it right over. She dented the new fridge, food went everywhere…it was a mess. Every dish we were having was now on the carpeted floor, minus the rolls because they were in the oven. I was maybe 11 or 12 and she demanded that I clean it up NOW. My stepdad grabbed my arm and dragged me to the barn. We sat on straw bales until she calmed down. He told her I was not helping her clean it up. The guests didn’t stay. She ruined the holiday for everyone. Typical.”
His Dad Totally Blocked Him From Scoring
“We were all gathered at my folks’ house Thanksgiving morning when my little brother downed a fifth of Jim Beam, hopped into his truck, and took off before anyone noticed he was gone. He showed up 30 minutes later with his ex. He was trying to get a threesome started with his live-in girlfriend and his ex in his old bedroom. He was 23 or 24 years old at the time.
Our dad took his keys from him, drove the ex back home, then ripped into my brother AND his girlfriend for pulling a stunt like that in his house. Then he wouldn’t let them leave because they were wasted and my mom had spent nearly three days putting the meal together. What a great dinner that was!”
That’s One Way To Get Into The Holiday Spirit
“During Christmas when I was 13 years old, my family came over for dinner. Even though my cousin was 22 years old, he was always the ‘I don’t care’ member of the family. He surprisingly arrived in good behavior. He came singing Christmas songs and dancing.
A few hours after drinking, he stood up the table and yelled, ‘LISTEN, PEOPLE! THIS IS MY GIFT FOR YOU!’ He then pulled down his pants. My mom covered my eyes and I remember it being really awkward in that moment.”
He Was Caught In The Act
“This happened to me a few years ago during Thanksgiving. I was around 11 or 12 years old and it was your typical Thanksgiving dinner family reunion; turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, you know, the usual suspects. My family and I were spending some quality time together watching football, playing board games, and just having fun. This is where the awkward part comes.
About an hour into the party, it occurred to me that I needed to use the bathroom. During that time, I decided to take advantage of the privacy (naturally) by watching a little bit of an adult video.
Now, my grandfather had this Bluetooth earpiece that had voice-command and I thought it was a pretty cool device (until this moment, that is). Now, being the dumb person I was, I forgot to turn off Bluetooth on my phone. Surprisingly enough, the phone detected my grandpa’s earpiece and automatically paired with it, meaning the sounds of moans from my phone were now being broadcast to my grandpa’s ear.
When I was done, I came back to the dinner table to find my grandpa trying really hard to contain his laughter. I asked him what was so funny, and he replied, ‘Having a little alone time, now, weren’t you?’
It was at this point I knew I messed up, and no one said a word for the rest of the dinner. It was extremely embarrassing and to this day, I’m still scared to use my phone whenever my grandpa’s around.”
How Could A Father Say This?
“This was on Christmas night when I was 5 years old. My brother was cooking while my wrathful father had over-served himself and passed out on the couch. My brother made turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans. When it was time to eat, all seemed well. My brother made a speech about the greatest gift he was ever given and I just watched in amazement. My father then looked at the food and said, ‘Why don’t you act like normal kids?’ I was confused and my brother looked at him.
My father said, ‘You always force yourselves to be different. No wonder your mother is gone. She doesn’t want to see our sons like this. The oldest one dyeing his hair white and the youngest being a pathetic weakling!’
Our mother passed away when I was a few months old in an accident. My brother and father started screaming and arguing with each other. I felt choked up and went to my room.
At around 10 pm, my brother came into our room and brought me dinner. I am just grateful to have my sibling with me.”
“It was my family’s yearly Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt’s house. I was about 11 years old and I was just sitting at the table eating my food when my uncle started asking questions about what I’ve been doing lately. He was asking pretty normal questions, like how school was going and what I did in my spare time. I left the table to get some pumpkin pie and my kind of pervy grandpa had followed me.
I was putting some whipped cream on top of my slice of pie when he whispered in my ear, ‘So have you started puberty yet?’
I just stood there in shock and confusion. Now you may think that’s something normal for you to ask an 11-year-old kid, but how he said it is what creeped me out – he said it really flirtatiously and suggestively.
I then speed walked back to the table, still carrying my slice of pie. I refused to talk to him for the rest of the day. And what made it so awkward was that almost my whole family was in the same room. They all heard it and didn’t say anything!”
The Turkey Almost Wasn’t The Only Thing That Got Deep Fried That Day
“My wife’s family lives on a small farm. Like any small farm, they have a barn full of cats that become progressively more inbred with each passing generation.
One year, they (her family, not the cats) decided to get a turkey fryer for Thanksgiving. I personally find the idea appalling, but there’s an entire turkey-fryer industry that exists because there are people who refuse to eat anything that hasn’t been fried in oil at least once.
A few people went outside to fry the turkey. My wife and I began making bets about which family member would be responsible for inadvertently setting the house on fire. We waited with anxious anticipation for someone to come in screaming that the porch was on fire.
Instead, someone came in and casually said, ‘One of the kittens jumped into the fryer.’
We all froze and looked at him. There may have been screams as well. The bearer of this news, though, didn’t even seem upset.
He was bewildered as to why we were all so horrified. Then he explained that it happened before they turned on the heat. They were able to fish the kitten out and set it loose, no harm done.
We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Then my mother-in-law pointed out that they had basically coated the kitten in delicious oil and set it loose in an area filled with coyotes.
All Of This Over Potato Salad?
“It was Thanksgiving night and the majority of the family was at my grandparents’ house. My aunts (I’ll call them A and B) were setting up dinner when they realized that they both made potato salad. B got angry and stated that she was in charge of potato salad so A should take hers back home. A said it would be no problem for us to have two because the family could enjoy both.
Well, A became really angry for some reason later so when B wasn’t looking, she dumped the whole bowl in the trash. B found out and was so angry and offended. The two began to argue in the kitchen. Suddenly, A took a turkey knife and threatened to stab B if she didn’t leave. At that point, one of my uncles called 911, but since he’d been drinking for quite a bit, he shouted, ‘The house is on FIRE!’ and a few minutes later, a fire truck drove up. They got fined for prank calling and the whole family started to fight over who was going to pay it.
For the time being, my cousin and I went and hid from the yelling in a small room called the doll room. It was full of my grandma’s old doll collection and pretty creepy. My grandma used to say the room was haunted and she would see a little girl inside playing with the dolls. After a while, we swore that at one point a doll was looking the other way, so we ran out of the room screaming and my older cousin, who was pretty irritated, told us to shut up.
My cousin told him that the room was haunted and my older cousin suddenly tackled him and started to beat him up. My cousin was screaming, the family was yelling, cops showed up and arrested three of my uncles, a bunch of people left, and my grandma was just crying in the background.
Finally, a couple of hours later, everything was back to normal. Sitting around the table were my grandparents, one aunt, one uncle, my beat up cousin, my older angry cousin, and my parents and me. We all ate in awkward silence and nobody ate the potato salad since it actually ended up tasting gross.”
Not In Public, Grandma
“My great-grandmother is a lot of things, but a homophobe happens to be one of them.
I was at a family reunion when I was a freshman in high school with all of my cousins who I love seeing. When it was time for dinner, somehow my great-grandmother – who was 95 and obviously reached a point where she didn’t have a filter – started going on a rant about how much she hates ‘gays.’
This is something she screamed at the top of her lungs in front of her entire family: ‘You know what I hate about the gays? They do it in the through the other way around! I remember when Arthur tried that on me in 1946!’ Arthur, of course, was her dead husband.”
So Long, Appetite
“Whenever I went to my ex’s house for tea, we would have the strangest conversations. His family is one of those ones that have no filter when they talk, so they will say ANYTHING while eating.
One day while over there for tea, his mom started talking about her yeast infection and how she wasn’t happy with her intimate life. She then went on to describe both of those in great detail. It was so gross and my ex only got embarrassed when he saw my face because he was so used to those kinds of conversations at the dinner table.
When it came to dessert, his dad started talking about the way he pleases himself. Let’s just say that I couldn’t eat my ice cream after that.”
Grandma’s Jokes Kept Falling Flat
“When I was a junior in high school, I thought I should introduce my long-term girlfriend of three years to my extended family. We decided to do so at my younger sister’s birthday, who was turning 13 years old and was close to my girlfriend.
We sat on one end of the 16-foot table across from my grandma and after introducing her to my family, my grandma commented on my girlfriend’s appearance by saying, ‘Oh, I get why you’re dating her now,’ referring to my girlfriend’s large chest. This was bad but I calmed my girlfriend down and some family members told my grandma that she can’t say things like that and to knock it off. The dinner went fine until dessert.
I had left to fetch the cake and ice cream and when I returned to enter the room, my sister was sitting in my girlfriend’s lap. My grandmother says, ‘Looks like you and your sister switched partners, I would have never guessed.’
It took everything I had to prevent my girlfriend from launching across the table at my grandma. We had to leave before anything else was said during the party that might have started something.”
Too Much Information
“When I was 11 years old, my mom invited my grandma and my uncle to our Thanksgiving dinner. My uncle liked to drink a lot and he was wasted before dinner was even ready. My younger sister had no idea, but my teenage older sister and I knew.
My grandma had a fit with my uncle about the state he was in at a family dinner. The next thing you know, the family dinner became a talk between my grandma and uncle about fooling around and gentlemen’s clubs. It was the weirdest dinner of my life.”
A Different Sort Of Family “Outing”
“I was having dinner with a female friend of mine on Thanksgiving since my dad was out of state spending the holiday with my at-the-time stepmom’s family. My friend lived with her folks and she invited me and one other ‘friend’ that happened to actually be her girlfriend. Her parents were super intolerant religious folks, so she stayed in the closet when it came to family.
Anyway, halfway through what started out as a pleasant meal, my friend’s older brother, who somehow found out about the relationship, made a snarky comment about it and things went absolutely nuts. The mom was crying, the dad was going nuts, yelling, swiping dishes off the table, and throwing things at the wall. At one point he pointed to me and said, ‘YOU KNEW THIS DIDN’T YOU!’ in a scary manner like he would jump across the table and beat me up at any moment.
All the while, her older brother was sitting back with this smug smirk on his face. We all three got out of there as quick as we could and we ended up getting dinner at Boston Market. My friend ended up moving in with her girlfriend and had to get a job because her trust fund was cut off almost immediately.
As far as I know, she has not spoken to her family since.”
Can’t Avoid A Mother’s Death Glare
“During Thanksgiving dinner as a kid, we decided to go to my mom’s friend’s house for the dinner. Before we started eating, we had to say prayers.
When it was my turn I said, ‘But Mom, Jesus isn’t real. Do I have to?’
The rest of the evening, I kept getting stares from my mother.”
Low Quality Friend With High Quality Taste
“I was 6 years old when this happened. Some of my mom’s friends came over for a dinner. The food was great but one of the friends seemed really weird.
We have two bathrooms in our penthouse. The first one was under renovations but the second was upstairs and free. All of our bedrooms and closets were upstairs.
Our dinner finished and we were wondering where my mom’s friend went, so we checked upstairs and the bathroom was free and no one was inside.
We checked in my mom and dad’s bedroom (which had a ton of jewelry mind you), and she was inside, grabbing jewelry from the closet! My mom kicked her out and we spent all night checking for missing jewelry. No jewelry was taken, but my mom never talked to her ‘friend’ ever again.”
A Family Feud That Went Way Too Far
“Aside from pretty much every dinner ever being awkward, I can think of a specifically awful dinner. A couple years back, we were having a New Year’s dinner.
My mother and my brother were having an argument about something I can’t remember. However, mid-way through the dinner, things got REALLY heated as both stood up and started screaming at one another in the doorway leaving the dining room. Finally, it came to a head.
I was looking away at the time – down at my plate trying to tune it out – when I heard a loud cracking noise. I heard someone start to storm off as my mother starts to scream in this weird voice. I turned to look and I saw my mother holding her jaw as she fell to the ground. My brother was gone.
He had apparently decked her really hard in the face before storming off. My mother was screaming bloody murder, believing her jaw was broken. We had to call the police, my brother got arrested (after a terrifying standoff when my brother had stockpiled knives in our shared bedroom), and my dad drove my mom to the hospital. My brother had to go to therapy for a while and is still under assisted living. He regrets hitting our mother and never lived it down.”
The Comment That Made Him Nearly Choke On His Fork
“When I was around 12 years old, I spent summers with my dad and stepmother, who often had my stepsister over with her two daughters (my nieces) who were 5 and 9 years old.
Well, we were still at the age where it was acceptable for little kids to bathe together and although my eldest niece was well aware of what puberty pertained to, the youngest was not. To sum it up, the youngest noticed the hair on my private parts and her older sister and I essentially had to explain that it’s normal and one day she’d get them too and that it was just part of growing up. This alone was awkward, but it gets better.
At dinner, we were all at the table. My 60-year-old dad was there, a man who cringes and runs away at the mere mention of the word ‘tampon’ and my stepmother, a woman who basically thought I was the spawn of the devil and made all of us feel disgusting for various reasons, including puberty. Anyway, the five of us are peacefully eating dinner when my youngest niece stands in her chair and blurts loudly, ‘Aunt Ginni says I’m gonna grow hair on my butt!’ in a concerned tone. My eldest niece and I looked on in horror as my stepmother immediately got mad and hushed her then glared at us. Meanwhile, my dad nearly choked on his fork.”
Grandma Suffered From Information Overload
“One cousin showed up with a baby he’d hidden from the whole family and made my grandmother faint. While she was out, MY OTHER COUSIN showed up six months pregnant. So my grandma woke up to that, then locked herself in her room and wouldn’t talk to anyone but me or my mom. Meanwhile, my uncle was burning the turkey in the deep fryer so we ended up having venison since that’s all that was in the freezer. All while, my grandpa was listening to the Blue Jays game while sitting in his chair with a Molson Canadian in his hand, telling us all to shut the eff up.”
What He Said Was Beyond Cringeworthy
“This happened on Thanksgiving a year or two ago. Everything was seemingly normal: my grandmother and I were finishing up the food preparations, my dad was waiting patiently, and we were waiting for my uncle to arrive.
Knowing he was going to be late as always, we started to eat. I will back this up by saying I’m not that close with this uncle. I really don’t know him that well due to him avoiding my grandfather while he was alive. Eventually, he arrived for dinner and started eating.
The conversation started out normal with questions such as, ‘What are you doing after you graduate?’ and ‘You seeing anyone?’ Then it got silent and he bust into a story about the time he went to get a vasectomy and they told him that he was shooting blanks. This was just before he started talking about his bowel movement. This is all while we were eating.
While no one was drinking at dinner, I sure wished the Monster Energy Drink I was drinking had something a little strong in it just so I could forget this ever happened.”
More Money, More Problems
“It was the summer of 2004. I had gotten my passing grades to be able to attend art school.
My mom was really happy for me and wanted to celebrate with a lovely dinner so she went all out and invited our family from London: my grandparents, my aunt, and her husband, Uncle Jim, my cousins and my mom’s brothers.
After enjoying a lovely rich roast with dessert of wonderful homemade chocolate cake, my granddad made a toast to me getting into art school with water painting and drawings of landscapes, as well as a picture of a sunset that was the hardest as it took a week to draw because of needing to capture the right moment of the sun setting.
Everyone was so proud of me and it felt like the perfect moment until Uncle Raymond turned to my mom and said, ‘Jan, where the heck did you get the money for this?’
My mom gave her younger brother a dark look before replying, ‘Where is the money you owe me?’
You couldn’t even hear anyone breathe. I was then asked by Aunt Susie to take my cousins upstairs and stay there for a while until we were called back down.
My mother had saved money for special events like holidays, weddings, or if the unexpected happened. I, to this day, don’t know what was discussed between my grandparents, my uncles, and my aunt with my mother, all I know is that money can make a family turn on each other.”