The Pulse

November 26, 2019

“Turkey Drop” Is A Festive Dating Term Many People Dread

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This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for food, friends, and family (as long as there is no political debate that ends with mashed potatoes being splattered on the walls — looking at you, Uncle Joe). However, even though we have a lot to be grateful for, some of us may end up feeling down in the dumps come Turkey day. And that’s because the “Turkey Drop” is supposedly a common event come Thanksgiving.

What is a Turkey Drop? Do people actually do this?

The top definition of “Turkey Drop” on UrbanDictionary.com is, “When a dating couple try the long-distance relationship thing when they go off to university or college in September. Typically, when Thanksgiving rolls around and everyone goes home for the holiday, someone gets dumped. Hence the turkey drop.” Oof. That’s harsh.

Although the Turkey Drop is perhaps common amongst college-aged couples, adults aren’t in the clear, either. In fact, oddly enough, the holiday season is synonymous with breakup season. In 2010, journalist and graphic designer David McCandleless found that, about two weeks before Christmas, there was a spike in the 10,000 Facebook statuses he surveyed that used the words "breakup" or "broken up." While 10,000 FB statuses isn’t the most scientifically conclusive data (so take this all with a grain of salt), it does seem as though people like to cut their coupledom off before having to buy gifts for their significant other. 

“The holidays are often a time of evaluation in relationships,” Lisa Concepcion, certified love life strategist, dating and relationship expert, and founder of LoveQuestCoaching, tells O.school. “This is because the relationship is made known to other people (old friends, family, parents).”

Is that person you’re dating someone you want to bring home to meet the parents and grandparents? Would it just be easier to answer “no,” to the age-old question, “Are you seeing anyone?” Do you dread having to confirm, explain. pull up pictures, and drop all the details — thus getting the entire fam involved when you may not even be that into the relationship? These are the internal questions that often come up pre-Turkey Drop.

Furthermore, past romances can be reignited when going home for the holidays. “People can be away at college and have a full-on relationship, but then go home for Thanksgiving [and] see old flames or simply just realize they don't want that strong commitment,” Concepcion said. “If there is distance between people, that is certainly another factor.”

Sure, there’s really no “right time” to break up with someone. But there’s an argument to be made that Turkey Drop season is actually an okay time to, well, drop someone. If your soon-to-be-ex partner has a good relationship with their family, breaking up before this person heads home to the comfort of their family may just soften the blow. They won’t be alone, they’ll be in a neutral space, and they’ll be with people who love and support them during a generally uplifting time of year. 

And if you sense the relationship is coming to an end, it’s best to cut it off before you find yourself resenting the relationship at Christmastime or breaking up with the person on New Year’s Eve just before the ball drops.

The Turkey Drop may be dire, but we suppose there’s some sort of silver lining to it. It’s not fair to string someone along through the warm and loving holiday season if, in your opinion, there’s no love or warmth in the relationship. Weigh the pros and cons before you decide to Turkey Drop, and consider the environment that your partner may be heading home to. And if you end up being the one dropped, know that you have every right to eat all the feelings come Turkey Day.

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Olivia Harvey is a freelance writer and award-winning screenwriter from Boston, Massachusetts.

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