You might be anticipating the moment with unabashed excitement—or dreading it like the results of your annual executive check-up. Either way, introducing your significant other to the family, and on Christmas, no less, is a huge deal. Impossible as this might seem to you, your heart-stopping hunk could blow all chances of a future with you (that is, a future with your parents’ blessing) if he fails to make a wonderful first impression. Get him on the inside track with our meet-the-family memos, and rest assured that you’ll both have a happy holiday with the folks. Good luck!
Tell him the good, the bad, and the ugly. A lot of ladies hold out on personal family tidbits—especially the weird kind—for fear of scaring off men. Give your guy some credit—he’s stuck around this long, hasn’t he?—and spill the goods. It is imperative that he knows exactly what to expect, as supported by this Twirlit.com article. Some considerations: is your home atmosphere humdrum or hysterical? Will your entire overbearing barrage of relatives be present to question him, or just the immediate family? Do you celebrate Christmas the traditional way, with noche buena the night before and presents on the day itself, or unconventionally (it’s a big drunken party)?
It would also be helpful to clue him in on your family dynamic. Which relatives hate each other, and how should he act around them? Who are his easiest allies (your favorite cousins) and his potential antagonists (your older brothers)? Most importantly, which person will silence all naysayers in the event that he or she is won over?
Off limits! In every family there are issues which should be approached with caution, lest a long and unpleasant debate ensue. Mybigdayplanner.com cites religion in particular, especially if your folks are leagues more devout than the pair of you. Politics, sexuality, and even sports can be touchy subjects if all parties are not on the same side—can you imagine your Atenean father playing nice with a Green Archer fan? Also, make sure your boyfriend is aware of troubles in your family history. If you have a recovering alcoholic at the table, for instance, your man’s casual remarks about happy hour would make him seem insensitive.
Packaging is key. Never underestimate the power of a well-dressed man. Not only does it show your loved ones that he considers this introduction a special occasion, but it also assures them you aren’t dating an irresponsible slob. Ask him to spruce up a little more than usual—a crisp button-down, a little product in the hair—so that your family sees him at his very best when they finally meet. This eHow.com guide says the way your guy looks that very first time makes a “lasting image,” especially if you don’t see your folks all that often. Sear the effigy of a handsome, impeccably groomed man into their memories, and let his charm do the rest.
Come bearing gifts. The Three Kings did it, so why shouldn’t you? Endear your special someone to your family by making sure he doesn’t arrive empty-handed. Such offerings—taken for granted by so many visiting beaus—reflect thoughtfulness and good breeding. April Masini of Askapril.com recommends “fail-safe” presents like flowers (perhaps poinsettias for the holidays?), a compilation of Christmas carols, or an assorted goody basket.
Prepare for the worst. Nerves often make even the most admirable of people melt under pressure—and that goes for your family, too. Remember, they’re probably just as nervous as you are! You could brief your boyfriend on every single familial pet peeve, review the names and nemeses of each aunt and uncle, and work out a line-up of acceptable topics so he never falls prey to an awkward silence—and he could still end up as the object of some relation’s scorn. The article from Twirlit.com suggests you prepare for the worst case scenario by synchronizing beforehand how you should both react. Whether you ignore the insult, laugh it off, or confront the offending party right then and there is your decision. Just make sure your man doesn’t deviate from the plan!
Have you introduced your significant other to your family? How did it go? Share your tips, tricks, and horror (as well as success) stories with us! Leave a comment below or talk it up with other GIRLTalkers on our forum
boyfrien(Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)