Meet the Family!Fiona Condron
It Doesn't Have To Turn Into a Comedy
There is little doubt that meeting the family of your new love for the first time can be a daunting procedure. It is sometimes difficult enough to accept that the fact you're being introduced at all means something significant about your burgeoning relationship.
Let’s face it, unless a person has an extremely curious or bored family, you don’t go to the trouble of subjecting a person you’re starting to like quite a bit to this unique kind of discomfort unless you have plans of some kind.
And while you want so badly to be at your best when brought home for that first dinner, your brain is probably too busy trying to work out the significance of the whole thing to dedicate itself to being the witty and charming partner that you want the family to realise you are.
But the fact is this – you are being introduced to the family, and, yes, that is usually a big deal. It is a sign that this person has a fairly strong belief that you are going to be in their life for some time yet, so unless you’ve been dating ten years and his family live on one side of the country and you live on the other, the family meeting can represent a lot of things that have yet gone unsaid.
But you are going to need your full attention for the task at hand, so just tell the guy or gal you love them and free your brain up for more important things. A large percentage of parents have already decided before you ever set foot in their home that you are not going to be halfway good enough for their baby, so you are going to employ all the tools at your disposal to convince them otherwise.
But really – unless you are a heartless demon, or have had nightmarish experiences meeting parents before, then you are probably going to want the family to like you, if only for the sake of your loved one.
And there is a good chance that if these are decent people – and you are dating one of them, so they can’t be that bad – they will have a similar mindset, and be ready and willing to like you if at all possible. So go with an open mind and an open spirit, and trust that your partner wasn’t raised by ogres.
But it is no harm to do a little homework first. Undoubtedly the love of your life will have mentioned his family once or twice before, so pay attention when he does. Ask questions about his parents and his siblings, find out about their likes and dislikes.
Be sure to know the basic facts of their lives – what his Mom or Dad does for a living, which sister is married to which brother in law – and remember these: in tense meet-the-new-boy-or-girlfriend situations, sensitive people are easily offended. And remember that you wouldn’t like it if they called you by the ex’s name.
With all this information, your brain is probably already about to explode, but going the extra mile will really make you memorable, and not in a way that makes you want to wear a grocery bag on your head the rest of the evening. Family will be flattered if you were interested enough to remember that Bill loves to play tennis, or that Susan’s favorite thing is the world is her small pet dog.
Remember all the things that you’ve been told about the family, but if in doubt, it might be best to keep it to yourself. You don’t want to ask Mom about the shoe obsession that was really the guilty secret of Dad’s illicit girlfriend.
And even if your partner’s family are not the traditional nuclear one, meeting its various members is just as daunting, and might mean that you have to go through the whole thing twice.
Meeting Mom and Dad separately is just the same as meeting them together – just remember not to get involved when either one starts reminiscing about the divorce. Taking sides might make you very popular with one, but it’s not going to do you any good in the long run.
And remember that no matter what happens when you meet the family for the first time, your partner has chosen you, and that’s not something that can be said of the family. Ultimately you’re not dating them, so if it all goes horribly wrong, it really isn’t the end of the world.
Just remember that the family are probably every bit as nervous as you are, so be as understanding and as forgiving as you would want them to be of you. And when Mom comes back from the bathroom with her dress tucked into her panties, never, ever, mention it again.