When you meet someone special and things are going well, at some point you’ll want to introduce them to the family. A lot of couples choose to do this during the holidays, like at Thanksgiving dinner. But since these family gatherings can already be stressful, there are some things to keep in mind so you don’t end up having a real-life “Meet The Parents” debacle.
- Prepare your S.O. for the awkward family member - Marriage and family therapist Bree Jenkins says successfully meeting the family is a team effort and it starts with you setting your partner up to win. This means warning them about family dynamics so they’re not blindsided by your uncle who rants about Democrats every year. Dave Schramm, family life professor at Utah State University, suggests talking to your partner about names, what family members are into, family traditions and even things like whether you’re a hugging family or a handshake family BEFORE they walk in and meet everyone for the first time.
- Arrive early to get some quiet time - Jenkins recommends coming before the rest of the crowd arrives in order to get some alone time with your parents and siblings. This also helps your parents get to meet your partner while they’re not in the middle of preparing a holiday meal and keeps your partner from meeting 20 new people all at once.
- Don’t show up empty-handed - Bringing a gift is thoughtful and will help your partner make a good first impression. You can let your S.O. know what your family likes, so they don’t bring wine if your mom hasn’t had a drink in 25 years. Offering to help cook or clean up is always appreciated, too.
- Step in if things get awkward - Come up with a sign or gesture you and your partner can use to signal when things get tense or one of you needs help escaping a conversation or making small talk.
Source: USA Today