The holidays are coming up and you’ve got a new squeeze. Maybe it’s so new in fact, that they haven’t met your family and you’re thinking that Thanksgiving might just be the perfect time for introductions. Well, you may be right!
As nice as this sounds, however, meeting the parents, grandparents, and siblings can also be a huge source of stress for both you and your new partner. What if the family doesn’t like them? What if they don’t like the family? If, however, this is a person you can really see that you might have a future with, then it is important to make this Thanksgiving’s meet and greet a huge success.
Here are 4 suggestions to limit the stress and increase the chance that the holiday will bring you closer as a couple. :
* Provide both parties with adequate knowledge of one another: Nobody likes an awkward silence, which is why it is your job to brief both your family and your partner with basic information about the other ahead of time, so that they can find things to talk about. For example, your family should be aware of things like what your significant other does for a living or perhaps where they grew up. Likewise, your partner should know a few basic things about your family as well such as how everyone is related to each other or where they last vacationed.. Essentially, you want to provide each side with enough ammo to build a conversation and, if for whatever reason it doesn’t happen naturally, be prepared to kick off the convo yourself.
* Talk them up: This is the time where all eyes will be on your chosen mate and if your family is the type that generally thinks that no one will ever be good enough for you, this is where you prove them wrong. Especially if your date is shy or modest, it will be up to you to mention an accomplishment of theirs or two, or perhaps you can tell a story that highlights some of their more desirable qualities. But don’t only focus on your mate; if it seems like the only thing you care about is the person you brought home, your family will lose interest rather quickly.
* Don’t forget about your family: As much as this is an important time for you to introduce your date to your family and hope that they click, don’t forget to spread your attention around. Many people make the mistake of paying too much attention to their partners by overly doting on them and consequently, ignoring their family. If this is the case, your relatives will notice this all too quickly and soon grow impatient with their own lack of attention. After all, Thanksgiving is a time to be with your family so don’t forget about those who’ve always been there for you.
* Remember what’s important to you: If the meeting doesn’t go as well as you’d like, just remember that it’s not absolutely imperative that your lover and your family be best of friends. If they didn’t get along, it doesn’t have to ruin your relationship with either of them. Sure, there may be slightly uncomfortable times down the road, but it is also possible that the get togethers will get easier. People can grow on one another. If you focus on why you are attracted to your partner and the fact that you’re happy with him/her, then that is all that matters. On that note, happy Thanksgiving and good luck!
Written by Kristen Kirkham, MS in Mental Health Counseling, Relationup Advisor