When I first started dating my boyfriend, I was overjoyed that I had found someone so wonderful. “At last!” I thought to myself. I loved the time we spent together, and I knew he was an all-around great guy. But I was SO INCREDIBLY nervous about the idea of meeting his family. I don’t know why the idea scared me so much. If he was great, his family would probably be great too. But his family’s impression of you can be a “make or break” scenario for your relationship. As my boyfriend put it, “I know my brother is always looking out for my best interests. If he doesn’t like the girl I’m dating, it’s probably a clue that something’s wrong.” This is true. Your guy’s brother might not understand feather hair extensions or tie-dyed tips. He might not get your Kardashian-related jokes. That’s fine. But if he truly thinks you’re bad for his brother, or are otherwise creepy/obnoxious/rude…that’s a problem. Because of this, meeting your significant other’s family is a big step in a new relationship. And it can be intimidating. Here are a few ways to make it easier:
1.) Meet everyone in small groups: My boyfriend has a huge family, so I ended up meeting them in smaller groups instead of all at once. This was a great way to do things. Every time I went to a gathering with relatives I didn’t know, I felt more comfortable because I had a few family members I had already met in the room. Familiar faces always keep the stress level down.
2.) Find out a few facts about each person: People are flattered when you take time to get to know them and can ask about their interests/talents. Even if you just know about a few broad hobbies your guy’s mom has, it’ll make it easier to start a conversation when you’re in the awkward ”I don’t know you” stage.
3.) It’s okay to talk about yourself: When I first met my guy’s family, I was nervous to talk about myself because I didn’t want to seem self-centered or arrogant. Then I realized that I needed to talk about myself a little bit so his family could get to know me. You don’t need to recite all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished since 6th grade, but tell them about your job/major, hobbies, etc.
4.) Be easy: Okay, perverts. I mean that you should be relaxed and low-key. If his entire family wants to do an activity that you hate, it’s okay! Either actively watch or be a good sport and try it. They’ll appreciate your good nature and your efforts.
5.) Step away from the phone: When I get nervous, I have a natural urge to reach for my phone. It’s bad, but it’s just what I do to make myself feel better. If you’re like this too, fight that urge. People are used to constant phone checking, but you want to seem engaged and interested in his family. What may just be a nervous habit could come across as standoffish.
Any more tips for blending in seamlessly with your significant other’s family? Leave a comment or tweet me @lifewithlauren1. You can also find me over at Life with Lauren.
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