Dating can be pretty unpredictable, so it's easy to understand why finally finding someone you could see yourself with long enough to introduce them to your family is a big (and exciting) deal. Chances are, your partner meeting your family is going to consist of several phases, ranging from pure excitement to utter terror depending on the moment.
The good news is that it's pretty unlikely that the meeting is going to go terribly, because hopefully, everyone will be on their best behavior. And even if that's not the case, at the very least both your family and your new bae will want you to be happy. Having a harmonious first meeting is certainly a step in the right direction.
Naturally, things are going to be way more chaotic if extended family is also thrown into the mix, because, let's face it — every family has its own "unique" characters. This type of situation will require even more pre-meeting prep. So before you decide for certain that your partner is ready to meet the fam, make sure you're both equipped to deal with the following (brutally honest) phases.
1. The Thrill Of Finally Dating Someone Worth Bringing Home
Having a new relationship grow to the point where you're down to introduce them to your fam can definitely incite some major feels, one of which is hopefully excitement. What will your parents think of them? Will your SO think your uncle's dirty jokes are funny, or totally creepy? Will your siblings approve? So many questions, and so many imminent answers can make for a ton of anticipation. But the high of knowing that your partner is on the same page as you, commitment-wise, and that they're ready to take this next step is truly exhilarating.
2. The Doubt-Induced Panic
Shortly after the amped up excitement of deciding it's time for your bae to meet your family, all of the possible things that could go wrong will suddenly be at the forefront of your mind. What if they don't get along? What if your family's slightly cooky eccentricities send your new bae running for the hills with terror? Will your parents balk at your SO's political views? While only time will tell, it might not be a bad idea to have a flask on hand in case you or bae feel the need to enjoy a time-out drink while hiding in the bathroom. (Kidding. Kind of.)
3. The Pre-Meeting Prep
Once all involved parties have agreed to the meet-up, it's time to get down to business. By this point, your SO probably knows a decent amount about your parents and your siblings. If, however, you are tacking on their meeting to a holiday where extended family will be present, then you're probably going to want to bust out the flash cards if your family is as huge as mine. It's also probably going to be a good idea to make sure your bae is fully prepped on any landmines they should avoid, like politics or religion.
4. The Low-Key Awkward First Greeting
The nerves involved with meeting your fam are probably going to be so unbelievably real for your bae, so you better gear up for an evening full of low-key awkward moments. The first might very well be the initial exchanging of pleasantries. Everyone is full of anticipation and a bit on edge. Handshakes may awkwardly turn into hugs but hopefully the stiffness will dissipate as the evening wears on, with the help of some wine. But not too much, unless your SO really wants to make an impression.
5. The Bottom Line
There will come a time during the course of the evening when the general consensus will become pretty clear. Relax, because more often than not, even if your partner isn't your parent's favorite or vice versa, all your family wants is for you to be happy. And all a good partner could want out of their first gathering with your family is to not be grilled too hard and to feel welcomed.
Even if things don't go perfectly, it's totally normal for things to feel a bit awkward in the beginning, but hopefully everyone will be feeling much more comfortable and relaxed during round two.
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