Whether you are a college student, working in another city from where you grew up, or like me and live a mile away from the home I grew up in, there is something very comforting about going home for the holidays. All of my family yelling at each other in one room, a plethora of home cooked food that my mother and her family have perfected, and hanging out with cousins are just some of the things I look forward to. That is why careful consideration should be taken if you decide to bring bae home for the first time to meet your family. If you don’t want your Thanksgiving holiday weekend to resemble a rom-com gone bad, just remember, there are some simple rules to consider when bringing your girlfriend or boyfriend home to meet your family and making your holidays less stressful.
1. Timing: Introducing your spouse to your parents is a big step in any relationship. Not only does it send a clear signal to them that you two aren’t just hanging out and having fun, it allows them to finally put a face with the name that’s been mentioned more times than they care to count. Also, even though you might want to introduce your beau to the family, make sure they are ready as well and that you both are ready for that next step. You would hate to be known as the person in your family who brings a new date every holiday.
2. Manners: Until things have cooled down, make sure your date’s manners game is strong–please, thank you, and names for your family members and no cussing. Give your date a heads up to bring something small to the dinner, whether its a side dish, dessert, or probably the most cherished gift during a time like this, alcohol. If your date is staying at your home for the weekend let him know the “house rules,” such as, no sleeping in, appropriate pajamas, picking up after himself/herself. They are at your family’s home, not a hotel. Upon leaving, make sure your date says a proper goodbye to your family (it takes thirty minutes for me to leave a family party, with a date be sure to add another 30 minutes for any follow-up questions drunk uncle has for your date).
3. Make a good first impression: If your bae is meeting you at your family’s home make sure he/she is on time! In fact, make sure they are early. Not too early, momma has the table set at a certain time every year–don’t stress her out even more by arriving two hours prior to dinner. Arrive 15-30 minutes early in order to meet the family (and hopefully avoid a lot of awkward chats during dinner). Also, first impressions are everything! Make sure your date is dressed appropriately for the occasion; clean clothes, without rips or tears, hair combed, face washed. I know it sounds like common sense, but you don’t want your date to be the under dressed or over dressed person in the room.
4. No PDA: Really if you’re older than 16 PDA is unacceptable! Keep all touching, kissing, hugging to a minimum. It makes everybody uncomfortable and really it’s quite rude. You’re at a family function, not on a couch watching Netflix. Although you might be inclined to be “cute” and feed your date off your plate, don’t do it unless you want a lot of nasty stares. Don’t believe me? Once my brother introduced my sister, Titi Margaret, and I to one of his college girlfriends. We kept it casual and went to the local Puerto Rican joint for food. While my brother’s girlfriend was gorgeous and intelligent, she started to feed him. IN FRONT OF US. We were absolutely mortified. How are you gonna be all over our brother in front of us? Besides that, he’s a grown ass man he can feed himself. Needless to say, my aunt always referred to that girlfriend as a little hoe (Extreme? Yes, but ya know) and my sister and I just always had to be rude by association.
Lastly, let your bae know what’s up with with your family as well as certain traditions. Chances are they too stressed and nervous about meeting the fam on such an important occasion. Have a crazy uncle? Let bae know. Does your family play bingo for money after dinner that usually leads to a crazy argument? Let bae know! (Hehe shout out to my family!). Plus, your family is probably just as nervous to have someone new join the holidays. Taking that fact into consideration will go a long way towards a trouble-free holiday season!