If we had to rank meeting your significant other’s family in a list of nerve-wracking relationship moments, we would definitely put it at the top of the list, right along with the first time you make a joke that just isn’t funny. Don’t let it make you nervous, but this moment is vital and sets the tone for the rest of your encounters with the family. A lot rides on this event, but you can nail it with a bit of help from the experts!
Don’t Drink Too Much
While it’s perfectly fine to indulge in a glass of wine if offered, it’s not okay to get drunk at his family’s house. Although you may feel more comfortable, you’ll more than likely make a fool out of yourself and say something you didn’t mean to let slip. Keep in mind, post-drunken-comment anxiety will plague your life for many days after the encounter and will be remembered by the family for years to come. A little giggly tipsy is fine, but sloppy drunk is never okay. Just think about Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone. Drinking definitely didn’t enhance her conversational ability. Plus, if you partake in drinking too much, they might think you’re a lush.
Don’t Let Them See You Sweat
Remember the film Meet the Parents? Gaylord’s fiance’s family noticed the nervousness and preyed on his weakness, making the situation even worse. Plus, his nervousness led to a series of accidents. Do you really want to be known as the woman who loses the family pet or floods the yard with sewage, or would you rather be known as the confident lady who made a lasting positive impression?
Prospective in-laws have a sixth sense like a dog; they can smell fear. You need to walk in, smile, and swallow every bit of nervousness, so they won’t notice. Act like Dorothy on Golden Girls. She’s a confident woman who, despite her husband’s mother treating her poorly, acted with grace, dignity, and confidence.
If you should happen to do something clumsy, make a joke and move on. Don’t let it get you down. Nothing is perfect, and you can’t expect something this significant to run 100-percent smoothly. It wouldn’t be a significant event if something didn’t go unexpectedly. And don’t just laugh at yourself, make jokes and show them you have personality, and you’re a down-to-earth person. You don’t want them all talking about the uptight “B” who their son brought home for the holidays.
Do Have Manners
Always mind your manners by saying please and thank you. You don’t have to eat what you absolutely don’t like, but do accept generosity when it’s something you’d be willing to try. The family ideally wants to be hospitable and wants you to enjoy yourself.. Never take too much, though. You don’t want to be remembered as the heifer of the holidays.
Don’t Assume the Worst
Most people dread meeting the family and having to spend holidays with their mate’s parents but don’t assume the worst and worry. Every family is different. You might be lucky enough to be welcomed by a sweet, open-minded family who’s looking forward to meeting who their child has chosen. If you lose at Russian In-law Roulette and you have a cold, emotionless shrew of a mother like the one Penny had to meet on the Big Bang Theory, you just have to swallow your pride and deal with the unpleasantry and hope it doesn’t last long.
Do Observe and Research
It helps to observe and take cues from other family members–as well as your SO–and act accordingly. While it’s important to be yourself, you want to fit into the dynamic. Respect their wishes on nearly all matters. Go with the flow with as much as possible because it will make your time–we don’t want to go as far as to say enjoyable, but we will say–easier.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask if You’re Unsure
Ask how they would like to be addressed. Don’t walk in calling them Joe and Amy or automatically assume they want to be called Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Wait for cues, and if none occur and you’re unsure of something, just ask. Asking shows you have respect and will lead to a better overall experience. It doesn’t hurt to ask your special someone questions about their family before meeting them, so you know what to expect and what’s expected of you..