So you’ve met someone you like, gone on a handful of great dates, and you’re just settling into that highly coveted “exclusive” label. The lucky guy or gal has met your friends, maybe a couple of your co-workers, and even the gentleman who works at your favourite sandwich shop.
You know the next logical step in the relationship, and yet, the idea of bringing someone home for the holidays gives you pause. What if they don’t like your person? What if this person doesn’t bond with your siblings? What if their political views are completely opposite to those of your extended family members?
Slow down! Here are five things to think about before you release your new SO to the wolves (too harsh? Okay, dogs, then!).
DO give him a quick review of each of your family members before the holidays.
Surely you’ve told your new guy about at least a few of them already, so this step shouldn’t be too complicated. Let him know their names, occupations and any quirks they may have beforehand so he won’t be totally overwhelmed when they do meet in person. This way, your SO will have at least one or two talking points to refer back to in case there are any awkward silences, and he’ll thank you for prepping him in advance.
DON’T try to force him (or your family members) to act differently, or alter their behaviour in any way.
When two of your core groups collide in real life, it can be tempting to try to censor them. Remember that although they are all a part of your life, they each have their own personalities, quirks and behaviours, and trying to get someone to hide who they are will never work. Instead of getting embarrassed of your family members, or trying to make your SO’s career sound more impressive than it is, accept your people for who they are and give them the space to be themselves.
DO provide thoughtful details when introducing him to your family members.
Remember that scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary when Bridget introduces Mark Darcy to her co-worker, Perpetua, calling Mark a “top barrister”? It can be helpful to throw in complimentary tidbits like this about each person in the conversation. Not only will it make them feel good about themselves, but it will also give them something to talk about besides the holiday cookies and eggnog.
DON’T feel like you have to babysit.
When bringing your SO home for the holidays, you may feel like you have to sit with him the entire time. However, this will give him no chance to really bond with your family members, and you’ll feel like you didn’t really get quality time with them, either. Feel free to walk around, mingle and leave your SO to chat with your tribe on his own, so you can both enjoy the festivities.
DO relax and have fun!
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, love and celebration. While bringing someone you care about home to your family can be stressful, the key is to remember that if you love him, your family will, too. Don’t feel like you have to put on a show or force anything to happen: allow relationships to blossom organically and focus on the positives.