There’s no denying that introducing bae to your fam can be a big deal. Will your older brother approve? Will your mom share embarrassing photos from the fourth grade (curse you, bowl cut)? Will your SO get dad's quirky puns? Of course, timing can be everything — and with all of your relatives gathered in one place, the holidays present an interesting opportunity. Alas, the question becomes: Is Thanksgiving a good time to bring someone home to meet your family?
Ultimately, the answer can depend on a number of factors, such as how long you’ve been together and whether or not you’re on the same page about your future. But according to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, the short answer is yes — it can be a great time to have your SO meet your relatives.
There are many reasons why you might want to consider making your introduction over turkey (or tofurkey) dinner. For one, Masini points out that since this holiday typically involves a lot of people and multiple conversations at one time, it may feel a little more laid-back for your new boo than if they met the fam on any other occasion. In other words, since so much is happening on Thanksgiving that they can probably dodge some of the more typical interrogations.
“Your partner will fade into the crowd — and avoid laser focus and awkward questioning,” she tells Elite Daily. “For instance, if your family has a big, raucous Thanksgiving with family, friends, and neighbors at the table, bringing home a special someone, won’t be a big deal. Thanksgiving, itself, will take precedence.”
Plus, Masini points out that Thanksgiving is a joyful, festive occasion, making it a phenomenal setting for such an important milestone in your relationship.
“Thanksgiving is fun, and when you bring someone new home to a holiday that’s already predetermined to be happy and upbeat, you’re stacking the deck in your favor that the introductions are going to go well,” she explains. “Everyone is in a good mood. Adding someone new to the mix is natural in this kind of environment. The ‘pitch in and help’ attitude with a big meal is conducive to ‘the more the merrier.’ Which is exactly what you want when you’re introducing someone new.”
Masini says it’s also worth noting that unlike other upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving does not have a religious affiliation, meaning that you'll be less likely to encounter any conflict or awkwardness over these differences in that regard, if your partner is from a different background than your family or if your family has internal discord.
“The most conflict you can really expect is vegans vs. meat eaters,” she adds. “And if that’s your biggest problem, you’re ahead of the curve.”
That said, there are some potential cons to bringing your SO home for the first time at Thanksgiving. For example, Masini notes that if your family’s Thanksgiving is very small and intimate, they may feel like they’re intruding.
“Whether they’re right or wrong, these are their feelings and you might want to consider a different time and place to introduce your special someone if this is the case,” she explains.
On the other hand, if your Thanksgiving is a massive affair, it may feel more intimidating for your partner. Instead of only meeting your parents, they'll have to make an impression on your extended family as well.
Additionally, Masini points out that traveling around Thanksgiving can be especially crowded, not to mention expensive, so it’s important to take the distance into account.
“If this is going to break the bank, you might want to consider another weekend to introduce your person to your family,” she says.
You'll also want to be respectful of your partner’s own family obligations at Thanksgiving. As Masini explains, jealousy can come into play if your boo spends the holiday with your family instead of their own.
“Of course, if your relationship goes the distance, this is something you’ll have to work out by alternating holidays or creating a Thanksgiving on a day other than the third Thursday in November, to make sure you see everyone,” she adds. “But the first time this happens, feelings can be raw.”
Still not sure whether Turkey Day is the right time to bring bae home? According to Masini, it really comes down to the nature of your relationship.
“If you’re monogamous and aren’t seeing other people, you’ve been dating for six months or more, and you’re both in love with each other and want to commit in some way, this might be a perfect time to introduce each other to family,” she says.
You can’t guarantee that mom won’t share some cringe-worthy stories about your awkward AF adolescence, your Uncle Fred won’t tell a potentially offensive joke, and your Aunt Sheila won’t have a couple too many glasses of Pinot and start a heated discussion about politics. But you can be pretty sure that your SO will get a solid sense of what your family dynamic is like, and isn’t that the point? Not only will they get to meet some people who are obviously very important to you on an already joyous occasion, but they’ll also get an inside look at the traditions you grew up with. Besides, the parentals will probably be too busy obsessing over the gravy to make bae feel uncomfortable.