First impressions are so important—especially when it comes to meeting your boyfriend's or girlfriend’s family for the first time.
Want some tips on how to handle your significant other’s freaky family this holiday season?
1. Respect yourself and respect them by dressing appropriately
Not too much, not too little. Ladies keep the cleavage at home and make sure your hem lengths are appropriate. Be classy, demure, and elegant. Make sure you are manicured and also don’t go heavy on the make-up. Gentlemen, pay attention to hygiene, be well groomed, trimmed and polished. Go for a clean classic look, nothing too flashy.
2. Always bring a small token or gift to the parents or whichever family member is hosting you
Try to do a little background research first, ask you boyfriend or girlfriend about their family’s interests so you can add a personal, more thoughtful touch. A beautiful coffee table book on one your host’s hobbies is always a great idea. A nice bottle of wine, flowers, a candle or dessert are always appreciated and show that you are well mannered. Keep the cost reasonable, not too much or too little. When in doubt and you feel like your host may already have everything under the sun, don’t panic, buy an orchid.
3. Make an effort to engage with the family, don’t be a wall flower
Learn about each person without being nosey, show genuine interest and make conversation. Ask your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents to see childhood pictures and hear stories about their younger years. Be light and open, go outside and play catch with the younger generation or pets. Have fun and enjoy the process. Remember these are the relatives of a person you love; the apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree, so relax and enjoy getting to know the family.
Watch your words… Don’t curse, don’t gossip, don’t bash. Avoid politics and religion, keep the conversation light but interesting. Come prepared with topics that you are confident in and can discuss easily. Don’t talk about your personal issues, no one needs to hear your drama at this point. Stay positive and keep it fun. Ask about them, learn, but don’t pry, it’s a fine line.
4. Identify your fear going into it
Be honest with yourself about what you’re really nervous about. Talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about this, or even better, speak to your own parents if you have a healthy, respectful relationship. Also, get the low down on the family dynamic beforehand so you are prepared and know how to best approach each individual. And most importantly, always go in with a warm, positive attitude.
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