Meet The Family: Digging Deeper Into Etiquette

Meeting of young pair with parents.

In the dating and relationships world, there is nothing more intimidating and nerve-wrecking than meeting your S.O.’s family members, whether it be their parents, grandparents or siblings.

And that’s why the Internet is overflowing with articles on dos and don’ts, as well as how to make a good first impression that’ll last.

Even though that’s all good and dandy, those generic tips don’t dig deep into the specifics and because they’re generic, it can miss some crucial things.

That’s why we’re digging deeper into generic etiquette and giving you some other not-so-common tips and things to remember when meeting your S.O.’s parents.

#1. Help out but don’t be afraid to ask for specific instructions.

Lending a helping hand is the most important etiquette to remember and practice when meeting the family for dinner or at a party of some sort.

But don’t stay silent if you’re confused or aren’t sure what you can do to help out, especially if it’s not necessarily something you’re good at.

For example, if your S.O.’s mom accepts your offer in helping her to cook the meal, and you’re unsure about how she wants the vegetables to be cut, ask her.

Most likely, she’ll be more than happy to express her preferences on how she wants the vegetables to be sliced and you won’t be worrying about whether or not you’ve done it correctly.

#2. Don’t mother or father your S.O.

You’d be surprised at how many stories I’ve heard where the girl or guy told their S.O. that they shouldn’t be eating this or they shouldn’t say that for whatever reason.

It’s one thing to be accountable of your S.O. and another to mother or father them at anytime about anything.

If your S.O. is a responsible person, they will be able to monitor their words and actions. Please do not treat them like a child or worse, put them down in front of their family.

Not only will that speak volumes about your character and personality, but also may give their family members a reason to question whether you’re the right person for their child to be dating.

#3. Put thought into your gifts to them.

It’s polite and customary to bring a gift when you first meet your S.O.’s parents and though I agree with this etiquette, I don’t think that bringing a generic bottle of wine will cut it.

Many articles indicate that bringing wine or dessert is the safe way to go because it’s generic and enjoyable, but what if your S.O.’s family members don’t drink or they’re not fond of sweets?

You don’t have to break your wallet in order to get them thoughtful gifts. Take into consideration what their likes are and if you don’t know, ask your S.O.

Last Christmas, I was unable to join my boyfriend’s family for the holidays so I sent over gifts: stacked holiday boxes with different treats in each for his parents and a NYC-designed sticky notes pack for his sister, and they loved it!

#4. If they’re talking about a subject you’re unfamiliar with, ask questions.

This sort of ties in with the first point, but more in relation to when there are conversations going on, either one-on-one or in a group setting.

Please don’t sit there and pretend to know what they’re talking about if you really have no idea about the subject. Ask questions!

This will show them that you’re eager to learn, you have a curious mind and that you’re being real by not pretending to know what it is they’re talking about.

#5. They are humans with emotions, just like you.

Unless you’ve influenced your S.O. to do drugs or something dangerous, it’s highly unlikely that your S.O.’s family members are out to get you or are aiming to destroy you.

Ultimately, they just want to get to know the person that their child likes and loves. They’re not there to judge or to criticize but to make sure their child is in a healthy relationship.

Try to remember that they don’t have bad intentions for what’s coming out of their mouths or what their actions show, and if it makes you uncomfortable, respectfully speak up.

#6. Be yourself!

Your S.O. likes and loves you for who you are, not for the perfect unrealistic guy or gal you aren’t, so let your realness shine when you’re meeting their family!

You’re an introvert and they’re extroverts? That’s great! Embrace your introvert personality, instead of trying to be an extrovert for the sake of fitting in.

They love cats but you love dogs? Fantastic! Let the love you have for dogs overflow from within you so they can see what it is that makes you favor dogs over cats.

But all silliness aside, differences are to be embraced, especially if they’re genuine. Not only are they great for conversation but it’s a great balance and may complement the others!

Featured Image: Bigstock

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