Meeting the Family

Meeting the FamilyPeople often think that the best time to introduce their partners to their family is during the holidays. This could be a good time, but it does tend to add some stress to the situation. Pay attention to a few pointers and it can be a fun experience for everyone.

Be Yourself

As you read the other tips, remember to keep them in the context of being yourself. Don’t try to look or act like someone you aren’t.  This just increases the stress and forces you to either explain the lie later or maintain that persona in future meetings. Don’t stretch these tips to where you feel unnatural. Go as far as your own personality can make them a natural part of you.

The First Impression

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but most people will try. If you go to a family dinner with your partner and you dress like an exotic nightclub dancer or someone from Little House on the Prairie, you will definitely make a first impression. Maybe not the one you wanted.  If you like tight, bright clothing and super model makeup, tone it down a bit.  If you prefer jeans and a T-Shirt, step it up a bit. The goal is to allow the family to get to know you first and not be distracted by what you’re wearing.

Hold Back the Hormones

No matter how much you’re into your partner and how much they turn you on, resist the temptation to be too obvious about it in front of the family. The family knows that you two are in love. They don’t need to be reminded by watching you fondle each other at the dinner table. Or worse, catching you two using the pool table in an unorthodox manner! Yes, hugging and holding hands gives a good impression but beyond that you run the risk of again distracting the family from really getting to know you.

Respect the Situation

Keep in mind that the purpose of this activity is for the family to get to know you. It’s also for you to compare the impressions you got from your partner to your experience with the family. Be respectful of their home, their culture and their preferences. Don’t talk politics or religion.  Don’t ramble on about the latest celebrity breakup or sex scandal. Most importantly, leave your soapbox at home!

Take an Offering to the Gods

Otherwise known as, take a gift.  No matter how much they insist that you don’t need to bring anything, take something! During the holidays it’s especially appropriate to show up with a small gift.  A bottle of wine, some flowers or candles, your partner will have some ideas. Be careful when taking a homemade dish to dinner. You might be the better cook and it wouldn’t do to show up the family!

Watch the Alcohol

Do I even need to mention this? You can bet that if you get tipsy at the family dinner, that will be all they remember about you.  If you can’t control your social drinking then have a soda.  Don’t take the risk. Drinking also “loosens lips”. So while you may not actually get drunk, you might decide that it would be funny to tell them about the time you and your partner made out in the church basement after a friend’s wedding!

Do Your Homework

Grill your partner about the family before going to the meeting. Find out what you can about their preferences. Their lifestyle.  What are the family traditions they observe during the holiday? The more information you have the better able you are to stay out of trouble! You will also be able to show some real respect for the family and their space.

The holidays can be a fun time to meet your partner’s parents. Keep it light. Go with the intention of meeting really nice people. And show them what a great partner you will be for their family member!

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