25, Austin Texas
Meeting your boyfriend's family for the first time is a BIG DEAL. Meeting your boyfriend's family for the first time on Thanksgiving can make or break a BIG DEAL! All kidding aside, first impressions are everything and as stressful as the holidays already are, here are a few rules to follow so your first family encounter paves a yellow brick road to many, many more:
Be yourself: You are the only you, and that's the only person you need to be. Be the girl your boyfriend fell for in the first place, and you can never go wrong. Engage in conversations with each family member, and get to know them. If you have something in common, even better! If you can't find a common ground, there is one love you do share: your boo, so talking about him can always break the ice. The fact that you are even there and making an effort should be a positive sign that your heart is in it, and not one person will have a problem with that.
Lend a helping hand: Before the big day, ask if you can contribute to the meal by bringing a side dish or dessert. This gesture is a great way of showing that you are thoughtful, and are planning ahead. When you arrive to dinner on Thanksgiving Day, offer to help set the table, or help with any last minute meal prepping. The answer most likely will be "No", but it's always the thought that counts. When dinner is over, offer to help clean up, and load the dishwasher. If you are a guest, it is common etiquette to offer to at least tidy things up so that you're not perceived to be lazy or undomesticated. After all, you do want to be invited over for a 2nd meal right?
Mind your manners: Let's go back to the rules that we learned in Kindergarten. Say please and thank you, always. Don't forget to put your napkin on your lap, and chew with your mouth closed no matter how hungry you are, or how delicious (or not) the food is. Lastly, IG, Twitter, and FB will all still be there post dinner, so giving the family your undivided attention for an hour or so will not only help you get to know them better, but show that you respect your time with them. Note: it is acceptable if you want to take a quick family pic, or food pic, or boyfriend selfie to post AFTER dinner.
Dress your best: You can never be too overdressed, but there are two occasions where it’s best to TID (tone it down – you’ll be seeing this acronym from us every now and then). #1 Job interviews (we’ll get to that in another article), and #2 meeting your boyfriend’s family for the first time. Showing your true style is another way of being yourself, but if you’re meeting the family for the first time, there’s nothing wrong with being a little bit more conservative. This doesn’t mean cardigan and pearls, but make sure your dress or skirt grazes a couple inches below your fingertips. And no need to go too crazy with make up or statement jewelry, because we don’t need anything to distract from your sparkling personality.
Treat him with RESPECT: Sometimes when you are comfortable in a relationship, you tend to speak loosely and give your significant other tough love. In this case, it may be a good idea not to put him down (even if it's jokingly), hit him (what can I say, sometimes us girls can be bullies), or join in TOO much when his siblings or parents are teasing him. Remember that you are around people that ultimately will always be on HIS side, so the more you can show them that you are into him, the more they will approve of you, AND your relationship. And although “approval” is not necessary, it will make everyone’s life easier (especially yours).
And even after you follow this list of rules and it still turns out to be a complete disaster (very unlikely), you have to put things into perspective and realize that you are dating HIM not his family. Send an update and let us know how it went. We look forward to writing an article in response to “My boyfriend’s family loves me more than they do him, what should I do???”.
xo - m