When you’re in a serious relationship, the holiday season can test the longevity of your romance. Regardless if its Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, chances are that your significant other will want to bring you home to meet their family. Before you panic: this is a good thing! Clearly, your partner thinks that this is more than just a fling if you’re getting a peek into their world. Though this is definitely exciting, it can definitely be pretty overwhelming.
Check out these tips to making sure this all goes smoothly...
Start things off on the right foot by bringing a gift. It doesn’t have to be super expensive but it should be thoughtful and steer away from overly generic. Ask your partner what their parents like and go from there. By bringing their family something special, you will let them know that you care.
Every family has its own quirks and history. Before you guys have that very first dinner, sit down with your partner and ask if there’s anything specific you should know about their siblings or parents. This way, you will avoid making anything awkward by bringing up a triggering subject. This conversation could also help you know how to win over their family. Do they like board games? Or, should you suggest going to a comedy show? There’s only one to find out.
While getting approval from your partner’s friends is important, their siblings are absolutely critical. They are most likely the closest people to your partner, and especially if things are getting serious, will be part of your life. Set aside some time to have a one-on-one with them. Don’t be afraid to do something fun or spontaneous. They are probably just as eager to get to know you as well, so relax and let your guard down.
You’ve probably heard of a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner imploding because of a political conversation going off the rails. Social media is filled with horror stories of a snarky cousin or self-righteous uncle who takes things a bit too far. Unless you’re literally dating a politician’s son or daughter, there’s absolutely no reason why you should bring up anything political. Someone’s political affiliation shouldn’t be a defining feature. Rather, it should be revealed over time after you know more important details about their upbringing and life. Avoid polarizing topics or politics at all costs.
There’s at least going to be one large, elaborate meal to celebrate the holiday. In many households, this meal is a communal effort that involves all family members doing their fair share of work. Ask your partner’s family how they would like your help. Even if you aren’t a Michelin star chef, you can volunteer to do other tasks like clean dishes, get groceries, or babysit. No matter what you do, your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
This is all a lot to process. You’re diving head first into a super intimate setting so it's completely understandable if you feel a bit overwhelmed. Set some time for yourself every morning. Go for a jog, a walk, or hit up your partner’s gym. These small, solo trips can help you be more present when you’re with the entire family.
Yes, you should always be polite and mindful of your surroundings. But you shouldn’t be some shy robot. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke or tell a personal story. Your partner’s family wants to get to know the real you — the one that they have heard so much about.
Before you head out, write a personal note thanking your partner’s family for the warm welcome. Buy some flowers or a little gift. Maybe pepper your note with a new inside joke. It's important to let everyone know that this was a memorable, special experience for you.
Meeting your partner’s family is crucial to taking your relationship to the next level. Let them know that they are more than welcome to meet your family when the time is right. If you guys are from different faiths, splitting the holidays together can be a great option in the future.
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