10 Guaranteed Ways to Ruin a Family Reunion

Bring up Politics
Nothing can create a rift between two people – even people who normally get along – faster than a political discussion. © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Corbis

You said yes to peach cobbler as your Uncle Bill served you a scoop of his famous dessert, but you didn't expect it to come topped with commentary about the state of health care in the country. Or maybe you did, but regardless, there's not much that is (or seems) more polarizing in family relationships than politics and religion.

How you handle those differing -- sometimes dramatically differing -- opinions without hurting feelings, bruising egos or kicking off long-term personal grudges matters. If you're going to get involved in arguing about the sequester this and the president that, be sure you know your facts first. And instead of the annual family fight, mental health experts recommend you be respectful by asking where they found their facts, or how they came to that conclusion -- and agree to disagree rather than arguing the issue.