The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s such a joyful time of year. Plenty of events are going on, and festivities are filled with food, friends, fugly sweaters, and well…family. Your SO and the family, wh¬o you’re meeting for the first time. Ever. Whoa, intense.
You’re beyond smitten with your SO and definitely want to spend the holidays together. That’s awesome, right? Who wouldn’t want to spend the holidays with someone they love? Also said your SO’s parents…
So there’s a catch to spending holidays with your beau? You also have to spend the holiday with beau’s family…? Again, whoa.
With love comes the task of meeting friends, coworkers, and family. Super intense? Yup. And you’re invited to spend the holidays, potentially near or far, with your SO’s family? Feeling excited? Nervous? Terrified? All of the above…? Totally normal.
Whether this is your first time meeting a partner’s parents EVER, or meeting a new set of parents, the same type of anxiety comes with the territory.
I recently flew out to the East Coast to meet my beau’s parents…butttt that turned into my meeting the entire family. When I say entire, I mean ENTIRE. I was really nervous at first, but his family was so welcoming that I was able to quickly let my guard down and just be myself.
At the end of the day, parents just want what’s best for their kid. They’re goal isn’t to dislike you, but they want to make sure that they do like you. Before you know it, you’ll find that it’s natural to be your lovely, witty, cool, calm, and collected self.
Luckily, parents tend to love me because I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, and I want to share them with you. Follow this survival guide to meeting the parents:
1. Take a small token of appreciation.
It is really nice for your SO’s family to invite you over for a holiday, so take a little something with you. It doesn’t need to be extravagant by any means. A bottle of wine, box of chocolates, or a dessert will do. I’m sure the rents will greatly appreciate the kind gesture. If you happen to know specific details about the family, you can work some personality into your gift. It’ll definitely go a long way.
2. Know their names.
Before you meet the rents, and possibly the siblings, make sure you know their names. I don’t think anyone appreciates being called by the wrong name, especially if you’re trying to make a good first impression.
3. Offer to help.
When setting the table or cleaning up, offer to help. If they decline, that’s okay. Regardless, it’s the polite thing to do. You don’t need to go overboard and wash all the dishes, but the little things definitely count. Thoughtfulness for the win!
4. Ask questions.
Get to know the family. Asking questions that allow you to really get to know the rents is critical. One, it will help you get a feel for the family, and if they’re your kind of people. Secondly, it will show the rents that you’re interested in learning about them and their family. This is definitely important when building any relationship.
5. Make them laugh.
Crack jokes. Be silly. Make them laugh. Nothing brings people closer to one another than laughter. I’m sure they’ll appreciate your sense of humor, especially if it’s similar to your SO’s. Show them how fun you can be!
6. Be aware of traditions.
Some families have traditions that you may not know about, especially at holiday gatherings. Ask your SO about any important details before the event, and ask to be kept in the loop and included by your SO It could be as simple as each person’s place at the table, or special cultural traditions that will take place. Be in the know.
7. DON’T GET DRUNK.
Yes, drinking can be super fun, and it may even help ease some of your anxiety, but please please please DO NOT GET WASTED. For some people, being wasted means being sloppy. Sloppy isn’t the best first impression. It’s totally okay to have a drink or two, but know your limits and keep it together.
8. Immerse yourself.
Whatever family activities are going on, immerse yourself. Get in there and be a part of the family. Depending on where you are in your relationship, things may progress, or maybe they won’t. Regardless, act as if you’re a member of the family. It will probably be fun, and you’ll most likely learn something.
9. Be a pleasant house guest.
If you’re staying for the day, overnight, or for a week, be a pleasant house guest. Clean up after yourself, and don’t leave a mess that others need to tidy.
Bottom line, be yourself with a twist! Happy holidays!