At some point in a relationship family time is a must. After all, we do want to make sure that our family likes who we are with, and we want to make sure that our significant other can hang with our families just fine. These people aren’t going anywhere, so this is a key moment for any relationship especially when they are serious. Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with Will’s grandparents for the weekend. Now I consider myself lucky, because both his immediate family, and grandparents are some of the kindest, funniest people I have ever met, and I never struggle with spending time with them. However, that is not always the case, so with that in mind I wanted to compile a few tips for spending time with the could be in-laws and extended family.
1. Look Polished
This doesn’t have to go on forever, but you want to make a good first impression, and keep it up for at least a few months. I can honestly say that I rarely look polished now that we have all know each other for three years, but I did try to put my best foot forward at the beginning. Remember, you never get a second chance at a first impression.
2. Be Courteous
Thank you goes a long way. So do good manners at the dinner table. If you aren’t sure about all of the various forks, spoons and knives on the table then take the time to watch a youtube tutorial before having dinner with them. Don’t forget that you are in another home, and that this is a mutual testing of the waters, make it count.
3. Get Involved
There is nothing worse than having a disengaged guest. Based on experience from both sides of the table, if you don’t want to get to know the family then DON’T COME OVER (also re-examine that relationship) – this really matters. I absolutely love Will’s family, and happily spend time with them playing Cards Against Humanity, chowing down, road tripping to the grandparents, and having them visit our new home in Portland, and he does the same with mine. Think about it this way, when and if you marry a significant other, you are also marrying their family, so make sure its a match.
4. Be Yourself
This goes for essentially all things in life but I will say it anyway. Be Yourself. Be genuine. Let this family in on who you are, what you love, and what you have been up to. Now, I’m not saying you have to let them in on everything, (please don’t let them in on everything), but you want to make sure that the person they are getting to know is actually you, not the perfect version of yourself that you are going to have to painstakingly put on every Christmas for the next 20 years.
Here’s a biggie, use your words. While you are together, but also when you are apart. Especially when you are the female in the relationship, as we all know how terrible men can be with communication. Set yourself up as a line of communication for the family, that way you can ensure that they actually know when something great happens, when you are landing at the airport, or if there is something that they need to be concerned about. This family can turn into an extension of your own, but only if you let them.