During the first Thanksgiving that Jonathan spent with my family, I was on edge the whole time hoping he wouldn’t do anything that would annoy my parents. Meanwhile he was totally unbothered and having the time of his life because there was unlimited pie to satisfy his sweet tooth ?Four years later and we’re now happily married so needless to say, we survived Thanksgiving weekend 2014. If you or your serious boo are spending a substantial amount of time with your families during this holiday season, here are a couple of survival tips for meeting the parents.
Pick a Neutral Territory
While at some point you should have your boo come to your parents house, for a first time meeting, neutral ground is a safer bet. The first Thanksgiving that Jonathan spent with us was actually at my brother and sister in law’s house, so I only had to ask them if he could come, rather than asking my parents. Since he would be sleeping over this was crucial, because there was absolutely no way my parents would have allowed Jonathan to sleep over our house at that time (this is pre-engagement).
Prepare Your Boo
Before we got to my brother’s house, I informed Jonathan about some essential things to know about my family. My parents don’t drink, so an alcoholic gift which is a common holiday or housewarming present would be inappropriate for them. My mom likes to crack jokes, so he should think quickly on his feet and not be offended if she comes for him (shade is her love language lol). We pray before we eat. We wouldn’t be sleeping in the same room. Don’t root for the Lakers (pre-Lebron) or the Cowboys. Agree that Nigerian food is best and do not complain about the spiciness of the food. You know, the essentials! By giving your boo a heads up, you avoid any super awkward conversations and even give them the opportunity to more easily blend into your family.
Exhibit Their Skills
This tip actually comes from my younger brother (hey KC!) who brought his girlfriend to Thanksgiving two years ago. Not gonna lie, as a big sister I side eyed my brother’s girlfriend most of the time (as I should because that’s what big sisters do). But they both made a BANGIN’ buffalo chicken dip that I kept stuffing my face with, and my brother gave all the credit to his girlfriend, so I had to put some respeck on her name. And she hasn’t missed a Thanksgiving since! Now that I think of it, I’m curious what she’s bringing this time…
Jump In When Necessary
If you happen to have particularly inquisitive or intrusive family members, feel free to jump in if their questions cross the line and make your boo completely uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean you should speak for them the entire time – your family will want to get to know your boo for themselves – but don’t leave them out to dry when bombarded with inappropriate or unnecessary questions. Practice a pivoting tactic or redirecting question to help get your boo out of any sticky situations, especially if there’s a topic you know will come up (like religious/political/cultural difference, questions about work if they’re between jobs, family history, etc).
If all else fails and your meeting the parents situation goes completely awry, don’t lose hope! It took my folks three years and a half years to like Jonathan even after spending a ton of time with him, and it turns out it was $50 and a bed on Craigslist that won them over… but that’s a story for another time.