Holiday Survival Guide Part 2: Meeting the Boyfriend’s Family
Holiday Survival Guide Part Deux: Meeting the Boyfriend’s Family
Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas will be here faster than a celeb’s instagram will be liked. Are you in a new or relatively new relationship? Have you already had the awkward/romantic conversation about the holidays with your significant other? Great, now the nervousness can set in.
We all know how it feels to meet the boyfriend’s family for the first time (even if it feels a bit like Monster-in-law meets The Fockers). If you are nervous about this holiday season for said reasons, never fear- you can be coached! Follow these steps and you will walk in the holiday home with confidence and walk out as “such a darling.”
Step one: Do not come empty handed
If you are going to a holiday party or formal dinner, do not come without either a dish to pass or a present to provide. If you are really savvy, you may do a combination of both- think chocolate covered orange slices in a nice crystal dish. Ask your significant other about the dinner- will one person be in charge of all nourishment or is it a pot-luck with other family members? What do they usually have? What do they dislike? How will dinner be served? Once you have gained the details for these questions you will be able to understand the best item to bring, be it a salad with pomegranate seeds or a bottle of bourbon.
Step two: Own the conversation
Much like the dish, come prepared with knowledge of what you are walking into. If you take time to learn about the members that will be in attendance, you will have easy conversation-starters well mapped out before you set in the foyer. Ask your significant other about each member- what was the last big thing that occurred in his/her life? Vacation? Baby? Graduation? Learn it and practice openers like, “Hey Aunt Beverly! Greg told me so much about you- like how you used to take him to the zoo every Christmas to see the holiday lights. I had a similar tradition with my family. When was the last time you went?” If you guide the conversation you will inevitably be able to stave off the “What do you do?” and “How long have you two been together?” questions for at least a drink and a half.
Step three: Compliment
Everyone likes a compliment and genuine kind words are worth their weight in gold. Rather than telling his mother “dinner was great!” try something very specific like, “I absolutely loved the green bean casserole- How did you keep the fried onions so crisp?” or “Your home smells like apples, which is my favorite! Where did you get that scent and how can I copy you?”
Step four: Help
Dinners and parties are hard work! If you offer or simply start cleaning up when appropriate, you will stand out as a star. Some families will deny your offer and when that happens, simply jump to it anyway in a way that will not offend- for instance, maybe the to-be-in-laws will not want you to do the dishes but they would not mind if you gathered up the random napkins and cups that are not in use.
Step five: Curtsey out
Walk in with a good impression (nice attire, friendly smile and warm handshake) and out with elegance. When it is time to leave take a moment to say goodbye to each person in a meaningful manner. Details are like dollar bills; the more you give the happier you make the recipient.
Mother: Thank you so much for welcoming me to your family dinner. You were such a gracious hostess and I cannot wait to copy your recipe for apple dumplings.
Father: I am so glad we had time to chat. I never knew where Greg got his sense of humor from but I do now. Thank you for all the laughs!
Sister: I am glad we met, Janey. The next year is going to be so fast and fun for you- if you need any help with your college applications, let me know.
Aunt: I loved listening to your stories about your travels. I hope to have more of my own tales to tell you next time I see you. Perhaps you will have a postcard in your mailbox before winter’s end!
Girlfriends, if you perform this combo of carnations-convo-compliment-clean-curtsey (or libations-leading questions-love your dinner-lend a hand-leave) then you will be set! These steps take a few minutes of preparation but will settle your anxiety and create an image that will be welcomed back again and again!
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