The Best Tips For Meeting Your Partner's Family During The Holidays, From 13 People Who've Been There
There's no doubt that bringing a partner home for the holidays can be a nerve-wracking experience. Add in annoying relatives, questionable fruitcake, and the chaos of a holiday family event and you have a situation that is bound to raise your stress levels to sky high proportions.
Even though it can feel like a stressful proposition when your partner invites you to meet their family for the holidays, it's likely a milestone in your relationship. The holidays are a time for us to celebrate family, friends, and love, and by including you in their celebration, your partner is embracing you and all that you are. "For many, the holidays are times to celebrate family, life, love, and personal goals," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and founder of C Silva Solutions, tells Bustle. "However, when you’re meeting your partner’s family for the first time it can be a little anxiety provoking."
But there are several things that can help your first impression go well if you're nervous. Silva suggests preparing each other about your family dynamics beforehand. "This way both of you are on the same page and can help minimize some of the nervousness your partner might feel," she says. "Think extremes here: i.e, drunk fights over dinner, heated political debates, or parents' expectations when grilling your partner."
And remember that first impressions go both ways when you're meeting the family. "Being around your partner’s family gives you insights into who your partner is as a person," Silva says. "You’re further evaluating your partner and [their] family’s fitness in your own life as you spend time with them and learn more about them. They are also trying to impress you."
I spoke to 13 people who've met their partner's parents, and here's their best advice:
"Dress to impress."
"Be helpful around the house and compliment the mom's cooking."
"Don't put up a front."
"Be cool and polite."
"Ask your partner for topics."
"Ask about their family traditions."
"Mom is who you need the approval from. She runs the house."
"Bring a homemade dessert."
"Put your phone away and make eye contact."
"Don't drink too much!"
"Show that you're genuinely interested in getting them to know them."
Most importantly, be your most authentic self — that's who your partner fell in love with anyway. "The person you were when you met is what attracted your partner in the first place," Silva says. "If you are meeting their family for the holidays, their family have already approved you on some level. They just want to see that you are going to be a good fit for their son/daughter."