Introducing your date or partner to your family can be stressful in the best of circumstances, but add in holiday stress and you may end up with more than you bargained for. Whether you've been invited for Thanksgiving, a holiday dinner or to stay for New Year's Eve, it's best to plan ahead. Follow our easy guide to manage holiday craziness when bringing over the beau. We'll help you make sure everyone gets out alive.
Keep Things Low Stress - The holidays are stressful enough without adding more to the mix. To avoid causing additional drama, be sure to plan ahead for holiday time with your family. Note the times for meals, church functions and other events well in advance. Take time off from work if necessary. And allow ample time for traveling, hotel check-ins and other details. You really do only get one chance to make a first impression, so plan to make a good one.
Make Polite Introductions - When you arrive at your destination, spend a few minutes introducing your significant other to everyone that's present. When you skip introductions or assume that your partner will introduce himself or herself, you leave everyone in an awkward situation. Instead, introduce your family members, one by one. Even if your partner can't remember all of their names, everyone will be grateful that you took the time to make introductions.
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Brief Your Date Ahead of Time - Every family has some skeletons in the closet, and the holidays tend to amplify the situation. If your favorite aunt usually winds up with a lampshade on her head by the end of the evening, or your sister's kid is going through a phase where he kicks everyone in the shin, you should probably take a few minutes to explain the situation to your partner. While it may be embarrassing to discuss these issues candidly, the honesty will be appreciated.
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Make Small Talk - While it can be tempting to escape early or hide in the corner the entire evening, you should instead make an effort to make small talk with your family members. This allows your partner a chance to get to know a bit more about everyone and speak to them one on one. Relationships are built through time spent in conversation, and singling family members out for these conversations might just lead to future bonding.
Plan an Emergency Out - As with any social event, there's always the chance that a family holiday dinner might go horribly wrong. While we hope this isn't the case with your seasonal social event, we also recommend that you plan for the worst. Before arriving at your family's home, take a few minutes to work on a signal that means, "It's time to go. NOW!" This could be a casual gesture or a conversational mention of other plans later in the evening. Anything that buys you an excuse for escape, while still allowing you to save face with your family, is a good idea.
Spend some casual time with both your partner and your family and, before you know it, you might actually be feeling more relaxed about the situation. After all, your goal is to help your family to see your better half the way you do. Soon, your family will see a wonderful person that has your best interests at heart. If you accomplish that goal, you can write off the holiday season as a success.
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