Tis’ the season for annoying and nosey parents to have their way with questions. And when you’re in a relationship, you not only have to deal with this from your parents, but from his parents too. The first time meeting your boyfriend’s family is always tricky. You’re never really sure if you’re making a good impression or not. However, don’t stress. Once you finish this article you will have the tools to surviving every holiday party and dinner his parents invite you to this season.
I’m not promising you’ll enjoy your time there though. I’m merely guiding you through the awkwardness that is sure to come. Here’s what it takes to make a good impression on your boyfriend’s family:
Sometimes you can get away with not studying for a quiz and still pass. But most times you fail and fail terribly. Keep this in mind when you plan on surviving the holiday with your boyfriend’s family. This experience will be a quiz. You will be asked many questions and you will be expected to know your boyfriend well. Honestly, in some cases, once you meet his family you may have to quiz yourself and see if this relationship is still something you want.
So, to ensure you are fully prepared for these questions do some research and study the behaviors of his family beforehand. Research is a piece of cake and should only take a couple of hours (unless you’re super nosey like me. I can “research” a person for days.) But, all you need to do is hop on social media. I suggest diving into Facebook first. Older family members like his mother and aunts probably haven’t figured out how to navigate Instagram yet. But, definitely search Instagram for his siblings. Don’t worry, this isn’t stalking. What you’re doing is perfectly normal- it’s research (insert smize.) Once you’ve located their pages look for these three things:
Wardrobe: Finding the appropriate outfit to wear around his family will be trying, but key to surviving the holiday season. The last thing you want to do is show up to Thanksgiving dinner in sweat pants, a t-shirt, and Ugg boots if super-casual isn’t the dress code. Try to figure out his family’s sense of style and use that to pick out your clothing.
Caption Language and Comments: As I mentioned before a conversation will be expected. By taking a gander at the jargon used in his family’s comments and captions on social media should help you get a feel of how to converse with them. One year I used the saying “yaaasss” to my boyfriend’s mother and she had no idea what I was saying. She later asked him had I been drinking before I arrived….. whelp, yaaasss to that question too!
Mutual Friends: You never know what common friends you may have with people. What if you’ve dated a cousin of your boyfriend before without knowing? This has happened to a friend of mine. She met her boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving and about twenty minutes after she arrived she was texting our group chat with our signal for: I need an escape plan ASAP. We called with false sobs claiming her family dog had been hit by a car. My friend’s boyfriend and his cousin were not friends on social media because they had a fall-out. But, the cousin was still friends with other family members. Had my friend investigated, she would’ve caught this issue before Thanksgiving dinner. And, maybe spared herself from the drama that transpired after that discovery.
A mutual friend could be a good thing too. If this mutual friend is adored by everyone it could be a great conversation starter. Just make sure you don’t mention the real reason how you know the friend is mutual. Keep the investigation secret.
Start a Conversation
This is the hard part, but critical to surviving the holiday. Mainly because you’re never sure where the conversation could lead. It could lead to a dead-end and make you feel like a nuisance for even trying to start one. Or, perhaps this conversation will lead to laughs and a lifetime bond with his family. It’s a gamble, but as long as you speak with confidence and a smile you’ll be fine.
If you don’t make conversation, you’ll come off as rude and bored. Even though this may be true, you don’t want it to show. So, suck it up and say a few words of kindness.
Stay Off Your Phone
Remember this is a quiz; being on your phone is not allowed. An occasional peek at emails or message to your best friend group chat is fine. However, make sure your phone is not the only thing holding your attention.
I know this is easier said than done- but it’s necessary. Especially when you are engaging in conversation with his family, keep this rule in mind. Yes, you are obviously going to say things to try to impress his family, but don’t risk your true character in the process. Do not agree with anything against your beliefs or make false promises to his family. Because, when your truth prevails (and eventually it will) his family will do anything to dismiss you.
When I find myself in an awkward moment with my boyfriend’s family where I have so much to say, but not sure how it will be taken- I say nothing. I just smile and maybe give a small laugh out loud. This gesture shows I’m listening, and not being rude. It also allows me to remain neutral in the conversation.
However, here’s what it all boils down to. You and your boyfriend are happy and reaching for longevity in this relationship. Meeting his family is just another step in that direction. He accepts you for you and that’s all that should matter. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to be accepted by anyone else- even his mother. And, whether the holiday visits go sweet or sour remember it’s just a season and once a year. You will survive this holiday!