Dating, in general, is TERRIFYING.
When you first choose to go down the unconventional path of taking things more seriously with someone, things are pretty nice and dandy for the first week or so.
But shortly after that, things can start to get a little weird. You might notice they do bizarre things, like eat chocolate in their sleep or wear socks with sandals, and you go from being in love to thoroughly creeped out super quickly.
So, if you're still trying to understand everything about your SO, holiday plans can prove to be a challenge.
Why? Well, if you just started dating someone before the holidays, the added stress of holiday arrangements, meeting the parents and other family obligations can often make or break your relationship.
DO invite them if you feel the relationship is moving in a serious direction.
If you like them and see potential, then you'd most likely want to have them around, spending time with you and your family.
Obviously, understand they might have familial obligations of their own, but if your relationship is moving forward in a positive direction, and you want to show them your level of commitment, then do keep them in the loop about your plans.
DON'T invite them if you're doing it out of sympathy.
If you're only inviting your SO home because you feel sorry they don't have family around or they aren't going home for the holidays — and not because you wholeheartedly want them there — then you're an asshole.
The person you invite to spend time with you and your family should be someone whose company and presence you enjoy, not someone you're inviting out of pity.
DO invite them if you have a strong connection with the person.
There isn't necessarily a right time or a wrong time to invite your SO home for the holidays.
But some people think just because they've been with someone for a year that it means Thanksgiving or Christmas will go over smoothly with their family and their SO.
There isn't necessarily a right time or wrong time to invite your SO home for the holidays.
But the truth is, the holidays go smoothly when you and your SO have a deep connection — how long you've been dating doesn't matter all that much.
So many things can go wrong over the holidays, so being understanding and able to move past whatever difficulties you experience is key.
DON'T invite them if you're trying to test them.
Do not throw your SO into the fire just to see how they perform against your family's awkward political talk or other interrogations.
That's just cold. You won't get answers or clarity that way, and it may even push your partner further away.
DO invite them if your family is welcoming.
See, I'm pretty lucky in this department. My family is diverse, cooky, friendly, loud and funny. And they've come to accept me as I am over the years, which means they're pretty chill.
This makes it easy for me to bring other people to my family's holiday events as well. They're just genuinely nice to anyone I bring around, and they never make assumptions.
I mean, they might interrogate the person I bring with me, but hey, they do it with a smile and while feeding them... so that makes it all OK, right?
DON'T invite them if your relationship with your family is not strong at the moment.
I mean, this one is a no-brainer. If you're at odds with your family, I would strongly advise against bringing an SO or a date to your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas party.
Wait until you've figured out your family issues before subjecting another human to it all.
Seriously, just wait until you've figured out your family issues before subjecting another human to it all.
DO invite them if you can keep your expectations at bay.
Just because your SO agrees to come to dinner, doesn't mean you should go wild with theories as to why they said yes. It also doesn't mean you should expect them to act or be a certain way.
In fact, having set expectations will create an unnecessarily tense environment. Leave those at home, and accept that things might not go perfectly.
DON'T invite them if you're not exclusive.
If either of you is still active on The League, Hinge or Bumble, then Thanksgiving with your family is a definite no.
Your swiping finger should be retired, not locked, loaded and ready to fire on the first hiccup in your relationship.
DO invite them if you want to see how they mesh with your family.
My father once told me, “You marry the man, his family and his friends... and his barista, his dog or cat, his car, his gym, the way he sleeps and the way he eats. So make sure you're ready for all of that.”
And as I'm sure you might realize, my father is right. When you date someone, you date every part of them, including their family.
Everyone's bonds with the things in their life are super important, and the holidays are a great time to briefly merge your two worlds to see whether or not they're able to mesh.
DON'T invite them if you're just not that into them.
If you're unsure about the relationship or where you stand with the person, then inviting them to spend time with your family will send some REALLY mixed signals.
Don't be that person who leads someone on. Dating is already hard enough. And wasting someone's time or giving them the wrong impression isn't cool.