Perhaps the only people you might be more nervous to meet than an significant other's parents are an SO's siblings. Siblings — particularly if they are close to your partner — can be tough cookies. They only want the best for their sibling, and they may just put you through the wringer to make sure you're worthy of potentially joining their family. So how are you supposed to win them over? You won't always make an instantaneous connection with an SO's sibs, but there are
questions to ask your significant other's siblings if you want to make the best impression possible.
If you're serious about a person, then it's important to show interest not only in them, but in their family. "As the relationship progresses, their family will become your family," Damona Hoffman, relationship expert and host of the
Dates & Mates podcast, previously pointed out to Elite Daily. After you cover the basics — where do you work, where did you go to school, etc. — it's time to show your partner's siblings that you're curious about more than just what they do. Nothing gets a conversation going like a great question, and these are the ones to ask if you really want to impress an SO's siblings.
"I hear you run marathons. When did you first get into running?"
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Do your research (and no, I don't mean stalk their Instagram and then bring up their ex from five years ago). Ask your SO questions about their siblings' hobbies, interests, and experiences beforehand so you have a base knowledge before meeting them. It's flattering to know that people are curious about you, and volunteering information about your partner's siblings before they share it themselves shows that you know how to take initiative. Just make sure your interest and your questions are genuine. Don't ask about their thesis on abstract expressionism if you've never taken an art class in your life and won't have any idea what they're talking about. (Unless you really want to learn!)
Here are some other examples if you're looking to learn more about their hobbies and interests:
"You served in the Peace Corps, right? What would you say your favorite part of the experience was?" "I hear that you just got back from a trip to the Cayman Islands. What was the best thing that you did there?" "I've been told that you love dogs. Which breed is your favorite?"
"I love your nails. I've been thinking about getting acrylics done. How do you like them?"
Even if it seems as though you and your partner's siblings don't have any shared interests, find a commonality and use it as a springboard. Something as simple as, "I've been looking for a dress just like that. Where did you get it?" or, "I've been considering finally upgrading to an iPhone X. How do you like portrait mode?" demonstrates an eagerness to engage. There's no need to grasp at straws — for example, I wouldn't suggest complimenting their shoes if you would never actually wear them yourself. But if you find spot an opportunity to make a genuine connection, take it.
Some other ways you can bond with your SO's sibling without buttering them up:
"This is your playlist? I love Motown. Who's your favorite soul music artist?" "Are those your knitting needles? I also love to knit. Where do you like to go for your knitting supplies?"
"So what's an embarrassing story I should know about my partner?"
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Siblings are experts when it comes to embarrassing one another, and there's probably nothing your SO's siblings would love more than to recount a cringe-worthy story from their childhood. While it's true that any answer you get will probably tell you more about your SO than your potential siblings-in-law, it's still a great way to endear yourself to those siblings, as well as a chance to share a bonding moment. As a bonus, you'll get to hear a hilarious anecdote that you can tease your SO for later.
If you really want to get the inside scoop on your SO from the people who know best, here are some other Qs for you:
"I've noticed that my SO is always super grouchy in the morning. Have they always been like this?" "What was the best part of growing up with my SO, and what was the worst?" "My SO insists on calling sub sandwiches 'grinders.' Do you call them that too, or is it just them?"
"I've been looking for a new TV show. What are you watching right now?"
While you want to make an impression, it's always a good idea to keep conversational topics light. Asking about movies, books, or TV shows is a great way to get a fun conversation going for two reasons: One, it will allow you and your partner's siblings to talk at length with little risk of running into dicey or overly personal topics and two, it suggests that you value and trust their opinion. This works especially well if you happen to share a similar taste in entertainment — few things bring people together quite like a shared fandom.
Other questions that can really get a good (yet friendly) entertainment debate going:
"Have your seen Rocketman yet? My SO liked it more than Bohemian Rhapsody, but I felt the opposite way. Which did you like better?" "Did you finish the second season of Big Little Lies yet? What did you think about the ending?"
If your SO's family is a club, then your SO's siblings are the bouncers. You may not even be the first person your SO has brought home who's tried to win them over. The best thing you can do to make a lasting impression is to engage in a way that is genuine, friendly, and open. And don't forget to show your personality — asking questions is also the perfect opportunity for your SO's siblings to get to know you, too.
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