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What to expect when introducing your partner to your family over the holidays?

By: Natasha Archary

introducing your partner to your family
Image: Adobe Stock

You’ve been dating your person for a while now and with the holidays around the corner, it may be time to have that all-important conversation about meeting the family.

Cue anxiety. Spending the holidays with your partner’s family is a big step.

It’s the first clear indication that he/she sees your relationship going somewhere.

What can you expect when you’re introducing your partner to your family over the holidays?

Family dynamics

If your partner’s family is totally chilled and very new age, then chances are your partner brings home many “friends.”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 you are 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.

Try to calm your nerves by making small talk to 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 a more hearty chat about your partner. Topics can include what their childhood was like, where they grew up and went to school, and maybe you’ll even get to see the family album.

Get your nerves under control

Meeting the family for the first time can be nerve-racking. 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.

Also read: I’m hosting Christmas this year here are the rules…

Written by: Natasha


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