In a relaysh? Aw, cute. Near your honey right now? Look at them. Think back to your very first date (or first date post-DFMO, or whatever). Remember how nervous you were? Maybe you weren't even sure if you were going to like this person, let alone fall in love with them. Nerves are normal and human, but they still kind of suck. Good news: You found a person. Up next: You meet their parents. If you are wondering how to get rid of nerves before meeting your partner's parents, you are not alone.
You are so seriously not alone that there are movies made about this — hello, Meet The Parents! (Which actually might not be a bad thing to watch in advance of meeting your boo's parents. Think of it as shock therapy.) OK, so, now that the holidays are here, it's game time. No matter where you are meeting the parents, there are a few concrete steps you can take to make your mind and body go from a shaking mass of nerve endings to a calm, cool, collected ladybird. Here they are:
1. Do Something Nice For Yourself
Bet you didn't see that one coming, huh? "The holidays are a stressful time" is something that everybody says, and I never understand... until November hits, and then I remember. Meeting the person you love's parents adds even more pressure to this time of year, so do something nice for yourself.
I know it sounds weird, but whether you take yourself to a yoga class or for a manicure or even just try to say nicer things to yourself in your head the week leading up to meeting the parents, you'll be more relaxed. Remind yourself that you like you, your partner likes you, and their parents will like you too.
2. Do Something Nice For Your Partner's Parents
This is dependent on the actual scenario in which you will be meeting your partner's parents. At dinner? Bring a dish you are actually good at cooking. If you're not good at cooking like me, go buy some expensive cheese and charcuterie. Everyone loves cheese and meats. (Except vegans. So yeah... double check that.)
If the occasion is more casual, such as a drink or lunch, send a handwritten thank you after the fact. Flowers are a great touch if you are heading to someone's home. Even if you send them later on, planning a nice gesture ahead of time can help give you peace of mind.
3. Remind Yourself That You Are An Adult Woman
This is not to patronize at all, just to say: You are a grown woman, who, despite everything going on in 2017, will be able to bite her tongue at the mention of controversial politics. "Nothing's worse than having a political fight at the dinner table," says relationship expert Susan Winter. She adds that you should stick to congenial topics. I agree. You can do it! Just say no to engagement! It's OK not to speak up about your beliefs the first time you meet your partner's parents.
4. Be Clear On Where You Stand In The Relationship
Are you in it to win in, 100 percent? Great. Don't be afraid to compliment your partner in front of their parents. They're probably really proud of them for their recent promotion as well. (Maybe steer clear of overt PDA, though, ya dig?)
Or, are you not as certain as to how seriously you feel about your partner? Maybe that's what's giving you pause about meeting their parents. "Knowing where you stand in terms of your own emotional involvement will help you navigate this introduction and your visitation," says Winter. Get clear with your partner, and maybe even with your therapist, about what your partner's parents know about you, so you can nix any "what are we?" nerves.
Unfortunately, you're probably going to be nervous no matter what you do, but trust me when I say that that's a good thing. If you weren't nervous about meeting your partner's parents, what would that really say about your relationship? You are nervous because your partner means something to you, and you want their parents to like you too.
And if you do all of the above and still start to quiver like the weird jello casserole that your partner warned you about because their mom makes it every year? Never underestimate the power of a few deep breaths. In... and out. Plus, there will (probably) be wine. (Just pace yourself, because there will also be jello...)
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