Nothing says you’ve reached the next step in your relationship like bringing them home with you for the holidays the first time!
It doesn’t have to be a stressful situation; in fact, it can be a great environment to introduce an important person in your life to your family. It’s all about making sure everyone is comfortable, and helping him or her to make a good impression.
Here are some tips for that first holiday-themed encounter:
1. Are you ready? There’s no one answer to this question, but do you know what bringing them home is going to mean? It may be interpreted as a sign that you are very serious. Expectations and assumptions can be joy killers and meeting the parents can have a certain level of momentousness attached to it. The last thing you want is to bring someone you are casually seeing home for “company” and having to have an awkward post holiday conversation about your status. Food for thought – How long have you been dating? Are you exclusive? Have you told your parents about them already? At the end of the day, trust your gut.
2. Be prepared. So you’ve decided to bring them, awesome! Now it’s time to prepare. Never go in cold, prepare both sides! Let your family know if there are some off limit topics and questions. Also, prepare your guest. Does Aunt Martha have a tendency to ask inappropriate questions? Maybe Uncle Bob has a problem saying no to the fifth glass of egg nog. Let them know what they are getting into so there are no surprises (except pleasant ones – like your mom’s cheesecake).
3. Always support. You are their host and in charge of making sure they feel comfortable. Check in with them often, and if you see them cornered by Aunt Martha, make the effort to intervene and save them. Show support and try to see the experience from their perspective. You’ve had a lifetime to acclimate – this is trial by fire for them.
4. Have an escape plan. Even the most supportive partner can’t prevent the downward spiral of some dramatic family dinners. Make sure you make a plan for an exit before you arrive. A signal, or code word works – it doesn’t have to be “your family is nuts, get me out of here”, but rather something like “we better get going if we are going to meet up with Tom and Sam.”
Above all, try not to put too much pressure on yourself or them. No situation ever perfectly goes to plan, and that is part of the beauty of life! And there is always the cheesecake…
Credit // Author: Rachel DeAlto
Rachel DeAlto is a love coach and relationship expert. She helps students on the topics of love, stress, confidence, and relationships with a fun blend of real-world situations, self-care strategies, and humorous stories. Learn about Rachel’s keynotes at campuspeak.com/dealto.