Meeting the parents is a big step in any relationship, but when the big step is taken over the family's secret stuffing recipe while crazy Aunt Marge wails away about the nation's current government policies, it puts on the pressure a little more.
If you're bringing your new beau home to meet the family during Thanksgiving, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Don't put the pressure on him to come. Meeting the parents can be overwhelming in itself, but when the meeting also includes extended family, he may not be ready to handle it. And that's okay.
- If you and he are making a weekend of it, be sure to coordinate the plans with your parents ahead of time. From where you'll be sleeping (separate rooms, please!) to what your activity plans are.
- This is a great opportunity to show him where you grew up. But instead of simply giving him the hometown tour, approach it as if you are both tourists. I did this with the last boyfriend I brought home and we ended up discovering some adventures that I never even realized existed in my tiny hometown.
- Give him the background scoop. If your aunt just went through an ugly divorce, make sure your boyfriend knows not to ask about her husband, or if your cousin recently gained weight, be sure your boyfriend doesn't say, "Congratulations on expecting." This will keep the awkwardness at bay.
- Introduce him to everyone, adding a tidbit about each person so that it's easier for him to remember them, and possibly give them something to talk about. "This is my cousin Sarah. She's a big fan of soccer. Sarah, John grew up playing -- he actually played in college." There ya go, bond created for your cousin and new boyfriend to converse about.
- You don't necessarily have to stand glued by his side at all times, but be wary of leaving him alone too long -- you know how Great Aunt Marge has a tendency to bluntly grill fresh meat. If he does end up having a pleasurable conversation talking sports with your dad, leave him. It will give him confidence and make him feel more comfortable.
- Include traditions. This is the first step to connecting your two most important relationships -- him and your family. Traditions play a big role in family get-togethers, and it's wonderful to be able to share those with a new love. But it's also important to learn about his family's traditions and might even be fun to try to integrate them into your Thanksgiving. He'll undoubtedly appreciate it.
- Your relatives will more than likely be discussing the newest family gossip over turkey, so be sure to give your boyfriend the background info as they discuss so he knows what they mean when they gab about how the black sheep of the family got married again (for the fifth time).
- Be sure to turn the conversation onto your main squeeze every now and then. Your family wants to get to know him, and this is your time to show him off. Spark conversation about his latest work project or his new hobby of volunteering. However, this isn't the place to brag; that would likely make him uncomfortable, so be wary of how you bring up the subjects.
Hopefully at the end of the day, your family members will have been able to see exactly why you're so head over heels about him.
Have you ever had your significant other meet the family for the first time during Thanksgiving? Have any tips to share?
Image via TenSafeFrogs/Flickr