For a debilitatingly anxious girl creature like me, there is nothing more deeply terrifying than having to spend the holidays with bae's family.
Navigating the intricate family dynamics of the person I love is a delicate thing, kittens. And it's never easy.
Of course, I'm more than comfortable slugging back champagne with my crazy, glam, vulgar family. I'm a Barrie, and we Barries are notorious for wildly misbehaving during the holidays. I mean, look at my parents, for Christ's sake:
I've always been able to be my crazy, wild, authentic self at my parent's house during the holidays.
I've always been able to get as drunk as I desire, speak my controversial mind and adorn my body with a black, sheer dress with a visible bra and get no second glances from conservative aunties.
However, babes, I've learned that most families are not like my family.
Most families don't drink a gallon of champagne and sport tattered, couture dresses to Thanksgiving dinner. They have special Thanksgiving behavior they adhere to.
So, through the fine of art of trial and error, I've learned to tone it down a bit at bae's house. And I've discovered it's less about the things you NEED TO DO and more about the things you SHOULD NOT DO.
Here are eight mistakes to avoid when you're spending Thanksgiving navigating your new SO's family:
1. Talking about your vegan lifestyle.
Look, I get it. I've done every diet in the book of diets.
I've been vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and on Atkins. (Never go on the Atkins diet. You will smell weird.)
But Thanksgiving dinner with your new SO's family is not the time to make an issue about how you can't eat anything with milk in it because you don't support animal cruelty.
Nothing is more off-putting to a mother who has slaved away in the kitchen for 17 hours for YOU than to find out you're a damn vegan.
Just wait until the Monday after Thanksgiving to start your vegan lifestyle. Or, push your food around your plate so it appears as though you've eaten it — just don't say anything. Fake it, girl.
2. Not eating dessert.
Eat the piece of goddamn cake, OK? Your SO's mom worked hard making that cake from scratch. Plus, she doesn't want her precious child to be with a woman who fears cake.
Unless you will actually die from eating the cake, just eat it, even if you're so stuffed, you feel like you might explode all over the walls.
Trust me on this one. This is the best advice I will ever bestow upon you.
3. Talking politics.
Look, I'm actually one of those radical weirdos who thinks you should talk politics on the first date. I believe in causing a scene and sticking up for whatever you believe in.
Just DO NOT DO IT on Thanksgiving night at your new bae's house. I'm actually looking out for YOU more than bae's family here.
You might really like them, until you find out bae's sweet sister — the one you connected with so deeply over your mutual love of black cats — actually voted for DONALD TRUMP.
And in an instant, you hate the family. And it's not fun to date someone whose family you hate. Some things are better left unknown, kittens.
4. Leaving your antidepressants clearly visible in your purse.
I'm definitely not psychotropic drug-shaming you — I would never dare.
However, lots of members of older generations (i.e. bae's parents) don't quite understand that mental health issues are real issues.
It's just best we keep your major depressive disorder and adult ADHD a secret until you're officially locked in to the family and they already love you.
5. Referencing your exes.
Let bae's parents believe you're a sweet, little virgin who never laid her precious eyes on anyone except their precious child.
They will love you so much more if they think you're a pure flower who's never felt anything for anyone else.
6. Getting white-wine wasted.
I understand this one is really, really hard. You're nervous, there's an open bottle of wine and the more you drink, the less nervous you are, right, baby?
However, the worst first impression you can make is a wasted one.
If you're wasted, you will absolutely start doing all of the things I've already told you not to do. You will talk about your ex, you will cry, you will refuse to eat the cake and you will start talking about politics.
None of these is a good first look.
7. Talking about all the times you've either been committed, jailed or deemed criminally insane.
You don't need to delve into the dark tethers of your past just yet. Your first impression is all about displaying a fantasy for the family.
You don't need to be this glittery fantasy forever, but Thanksgiving is already a glittery, phony, "perfect" time for most families.
You don't need to ruin the whole thing by talking about how you did a stint in rehab in high school.
To be safe, wait until you take bae's mom out to dinner — just the two of you — before you get into all of that.
8. Pretending to be Ms. Perfect who's already rehearsed her lines.
This is just as bad as doing everything else on this list. If you try too hard to act like a Stepford wife, the whole family will find it fishy.
They won't trust you because you'll radiate "fake-bitch" energy. And no one likes fake-bitch energy.
Deep down, I know you're a fabulous sinner like me. However, while it's not the time to advertise your crazy, don't go too far in the other direction and act too perfect.
This Thanksgiving, tone it down a bit around bae's family. But really, just be a slightly-less-whacked-out version of yourself.