SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After our recent divisive, bitter and draining Presidential election, you may know someone who is dreading going to joining family and friends at Thanksgiving Dinner.

An exclusive KPIX 5/SurveyUSA Poll found nearly 44 percent of respondents living in the Bay Area believe the election has damaged relationships with friends and family.

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How are we going to put politics aside and survive Thanksgiving with our nearest and dearest without starting a massive food fight?

“I can’t go back — It would be an atom bomb. Nuclear explosion — with Plutonium 25,” joked political comedian and satirist Will Durst.

Durst, along with UC Berkeley Linguistics Professor Emerita Robin Lakoff and Spirit Rock Meditation Teacher and Buddhist Matthew Brensilver provided KPIX News with some tips

Everyone agrees: This election adds a layer of stress to an already tough holiday.

“There is something about this election,” mused Brensilver.

“The Trump supporters may want to gloat, and the Clinton supporters might feel defensive,” said Professor Lakoff.

“Football is your friend,” said Durst, adding the games are on all day long on Thanksgiving from morning to early evening.

Lakoff explained how language can be your friend or enemy. She said to choose your words carefully, adding now is not the time to bludgeon the guests with nasty or provocative language.

“No 4 letter words, no nothing like that!,” laughed Lakoff.

“Take some deep breaths,” advised Brensilver.

One strategy: call someone on the opposite political side and ask that he or she be an ally to help referee when talk turns too hot.

“If Uncle Harry starts in any of the ways that you know he can start in…I want you to immediately distract him with another topic of conversation,” suggested Lakoff.

Durst said try to impose a “no news” policy: no CNN, no MSNBC, no Fox News. Check your smart phones with your coats. If you are asked about the election, Durst offered some ideas, including:

  •  “Election? What election? No one told me about an election!”
  • “Yes, I voted for Ferris Bueller!”
  • “You know that we residents of the Planet Andromeda are not allowed to interfere in earthly matters!”

If Aunt Mildred is upset that she won’t see a female President in the office, Durst recommends talking to her in code.

“Just put your hand on her shoulder and say ‘I feel your pain,'” said Durst. “That’s a Bill Clinton line, and you can talk to her in code.”

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If the conversation starts to get out of control, Professor Lakoff offered a tried and true method:

“Compliments! That’s a lovely dress! That’s a gorgeous tie! You’re looking younger every year!” suggested Lakoff.

Brensilver observed that this is not the time to say something you will regret. If needed, just excuse yourself.

“Just go aside and find a quiet room and breath for a minute or two and recollect yourself,” said the Buddhist.

If Uncle Harry or Aunt Mildred refuse to disengage and pepper you with questions and demand opinions, try a non-response response:

“Maybe you just turn aside with a smile and say ‘very interesting’ with a Mona Lisa look,” offered Lakoff.

“Get a little drool going…and then people will leave you alone,” said Durst.

If utter chaos descends, don’t escalate it with a food fight.

“Please don’t throw the mashed potatoes, not to mention the croissants,” laughed Lakoff.

“No sharp objects, keep all the knifes under lock and key in the kitchen spoons…just spoons” joked Durst.

Brensilver offered how we should just try to remember, that no matter what side you are on, we all want the same thing:

“In some sense the wish to be happy runs deeper than any political divide,” offered the Buddhist.

So on our Thanksgiving table, let’s vow to divide just the pumpkin pie.

For more:

Will Durst — Click Here

Linguistics — Click Here

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Spirit Rock — Click Here