The holidays inspire a myriad of things, like tradition, anxiety, and questionable fruitcake choices. However, few holiday events are as nail-biting as meeting your partner’s family for the first time. After all, we don’t bring just anyone home! Introducing our significant other to our family signifies that we’re in a committed relationship. As nerve-wracking as meeting the parents can be, though, it doesn’t have to signal disaster.
There are many ways we can hit it off with our significant other’s family. Master these tips and soon, you’ll feel just like one of the family!
1. Prepare Your Partner
For better or for worse, your partner should be aware of what they’re in for. If you’re in a same-sex relationship and you have that one relative that never quite got with the times, let your partner know. If your boyfriend’s used to a quiet room, and your fam rivals a Superbowl crowd, let him in on the din! Give your sweetheart a heads up if your aunt’s house is a bit more conservative or if your cousin’s known to drop f-bombs when she burns the turkey (which happens every year!)
2. Be Ready For All Of The Questions
Our families are loving, caring, and endearing. However, most do not understand subtlety! Have a “pre-game” talk with your partner about where your relationship stands. The inevitable nosy aunt will ask when the two of you are picking out china. If your partner is hearing wedding bells, but you still haven’t deleted Tinder, you have a situation to sort out before you meet the relatives!
3. Turn Off Your Phone
While scrolling through Instagram and sending silly Snapchat selfies might be tempting when you don’t know anyone but your significant other, it’s rude. Turn off the phone and engage with others. Speaking of which…
4. Find Yourself A Partner In Crime
Find a friendly relative with the great fashion moxie and have a one-on-one chat to get to know each other. Having an ally among the chaos of the holidays is a must!
5. Avoid Controversy
We are a generation of activists and no strangers to controversy, but Christmas Eve dinner simply isn’t the time to stir the pot. While you should definitely not have to endure racism, sexism, or homophobia, now definitely isn’t the moment to try to convince your guy’s dad that eating ham is inhumane.
6. Ask Questions
Mothers love to discuss their children. Have some fun and ask your partner’s mom about your girlfriend’s first dance recital or the first time your boyfriend fell off a bike. Bonus points if you get to watch your partner’s face turn red as Mom digs out the baby pictures!
7. Make Careful Fashion Choices
You may look like a fashionista in your vegan leather leggings and that LBD shows off your curves, but save your trendy outfit for date night. There are tons of clothing choices that are comfortable and appropriate, but will still make your mate’s jaw drop. Ask your guy or girl what the dress code for their family gathering is. Sometimes less is more.
8. Bring A Gift
Flowers, wine, or even a lovely Christmas ornament all make nice gifts to bring your host or hostess. If you bring flowers, put them in a case so that your partner’s family doesn’t have to make a fuss about putting them in a vase.
9. Limit Your Booze Consumption
If your significant other’s family imbibes in alcohol, it’s perfectly acceptable to have a glass of wine with dinner. Don’t, however, drink the whole bottle. And of course, don’t drink if you’re under the legal age for your area. Be classy with your booze.
10. Pitch In
Help set the table. Stir the gravy. Help Grandma to her chair. You’re a guest in your partner’s family and it’s polite to help them out. End of story.
Meeting your partner’s family can be nerve-wracking, especially around the holidays. Everyone likes to make a good impression, but no matter how well your visit does (or doesn’t) go, don’t sweat it. After all, there’s always next year.