By: Natasha Archary
You’ve been dating your person for a few months now and the conversation we all await with bated breath, eventually comes up. Meeting the family. And cue anxiety until the actual day you meet every family member.
Your partner will do everything in their power to reassure you that it’s nothing to be stressed out about, but this doesn’t stop the raging heart palpitations or hyperventilating now does it? This is huge. It’s the first clear indication that he/she sees your relationship going somewhere. Or is it?
That depends entirely on the type of family he/she comes from. If their family is totally chilled and very new age, then chances are your partner brings home many “friends”. Be it to family dinners, special celebrations or just to hang out and cool down at the pool on a Sunday. You’ll be able to figure out which side of the fence you’re on by asking questions about your partner’s family.
Are they close? Do they share everything? Has the family met other people your partner’s dated? What are the family values they hold high? These should give you an indication if this is just another girl/guy pal that’s coming over or not.
What can you expect?
If you’re meeting everyone over a family lunch or dinner expect the focus to be on you. There will be a lot of questions around what you do, where you’re from and how the two of you met. The family will want to know what their son or daughter finds compelling in you so be prepared for the third degree.
Should the occasion be a family birthday or milestone anniversary and you’re the plus one, there’s no need to get yourself all flustered. This gives you a bit more control over the conversation and socialising. It’s a bit more relaxed than a sit-down dinner or lunch and there’s a higher probability of drinks flowing.
Grab something to sip on to calm your nerves and help you break the ice. Once the formal introductions are out of the way, you have a chance to approach key members of the family for small talk.
Get your nerves under control
Meeting the family for the first time can be nerve-wrecking. You don’t know anyone other than your partner and he/she may not always be around with a comforting hand on the back. The best advice would be to just be yourself.
Whoever that person is, you shouldn’t have to try too hard to impress his relatives and loved ones. Smile, be courteous and polite and try your best to relax and enjoy the time with your better half and their family.
If at any point you feel overwhelmed by all the attention and need a quiet retreat, sneak off to the bathroom or step outside for some air (fresh perspective). Call a friend if you absolutely cannot get it together. Hearing a familiar voice may just help you get your nerves under control.
You’re there for a reason. Your partner obviously wants you to be there and that in itself is all the validation you need.
It’s not the end of the world
Remember, meeting the family is no guarantee that your relationship is headed towards a commitment. Your partner may just be testing the waters with you, to see if you are a good fit or not. If you are a social recluse and they’re aware of it then the expectation is still that you make an effort.
Don’t dwell on the what ifs too much. Focusing on if his/her family accepts you or not is not going to help matters. That is just going to consume your thoughts and could quite possibly be what ruins their first impression of you.
Your partner’s family and, by extension, their opinion probably means a lot to your partner and as much as you want to let them know why you’re in his/her life, there shouldn’t be any pressure. The connection is either there or it isn’t and there are many couples still together despite the family not approving.