8 Tips for Meeting Your SO’s Parents Over the Holidays
The holiday season is a time for enjoying the company of those you love, and for many people, it’s their first chance to meet their significant other’s family for the first time. If you’ll be going to their home for the holidays, you might be feeling a little nervous about making a great first impression.
From planning ahead of time to wearing your favorite holiday party dress and making eye contact during your conversations, here are eight tips for meeting your SO’s parents over the holidays.
- Do a little research in advance so you know who you’ll be meeting.
Research doesn’t have to mean running a background check or doing a deep dive into the depths of the internet, but it can be helpful to check with your partner about the basics. Some things you might want to know in advance are whether your significant other’s parents are married, what they do for work, some of their favorite hobbies and maybe a tidbit or two about their other children. If any particular topics of conversation are sore spots for them, ask your partner to warn you in advance so you can avoid bringing them up at this first meeting! You can always do a quick browse on social media to get a feel for your partner’s parents’ personalities if that makes you feel a bit more comfortable, too.
- Bring a small gift with you to thank your SO’s parents for having you over.
If you’re not the one hosting, consider bringing a small gift when you arrive at your partner’s family home for the holidays. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it will let them know that you’re grateful for being included in the festivities by being invited to their home this year. Check with your significant other in advance just in case any particular items might be inappropriate for their unique family, but a bottle of wine, bouquet of flowers and a piece of festive decor are all usually crowd-pleasing options.
- Dress to impress in a modest outfit that still shows off your personality.
While you don’t want to completely lose your personality when dressing to meet your SO’s parents, be mindful of how modest an outfit your partner has put on. If they’re hosting a small holiday party, wear a cute cardigan over a dress along with some cute flats. For a more casual event, wear a comfy but cute sweater that will keep you warm.
- Use more formal greetings when addressing your SO’s parents, and wait for them to tell you otherwise.
Err on the side of caution and formality when you first introduce yourself to your partner’s family. If their parents would prefer to be called by their first names, or even something completely different, let them tell you. As you get to know one another, they may invite you to be more casual with your interactions, but until you have that common understanding, try not to catch them by surprise by being overly informal.
- Watch your SO for guidance on showing affection in front of their parents.
Due to cultural differences, or personal preferences, some families find public displays of affection more appropriate than others. Let your SO be your guide when it comes to showing your love for one another through actions so that you can ensure you both are feeling comfortable. If your partner touches your arm or kisses you on the cheek in front of their parents, it’s probably safe for you to do that, too.
- Try not to lose your cool if family dynamics cause any tension.
While you certainly can’t prepare for everything, keep in mind that tensions can run high during the holidays, even within your SO’s family. It’s normal to have some family drama, and sometimes it can spill out–even in front of fairly new guests. If this happens while you’re around, do your best not to get involved and let the drama run its course. You can be there for your partner after the fact, but don’t hesitate to step in if you feel it’s truly needed.
- Be an active listener, and offer to help if the opportunity arises.
While there’s certainly a lot to process when it comes to meeting your significant other’s family, try to be engaged throughout these first few conversations with them. Hosting is a tough gig, and if your partner’s parents would like to tell you about it, do your best to be attentive and determine when it would be appropriate for you to offer help. Whether it’s clearing plates, drying dishes or helping to bring out dessert, they’ll truly appreciate that you’re taking an active role in the family already.
- Above all else, simply be yourself.
The tip that’s more important than any of the others on this entire list is to be yourself. Your SO already loves you for who you are, and has enough trust in both you and the entire family to get along well and enjoy each other’s company. Take deep breaths, relax and savor this special moment that you get to have with the people who raised the one you adore.
Festive First Impressions
It can be pretty nerve-wracking to meet your SO’s parents during the holiday, especially because this is a stressful time of year already, but it’s nothing you can’t handle! Once you’ve done a little bit of prep work, try your best not to stress about it and enjoy the experience of a joyful season with the rest of your SO’s favorite people.