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Modern Etiquette: Tips for Meeting Your SO’s Family

Step aside, Emily Post. Here’s your guide to 21st century dating etiquette: family edition.

By / November 13, 2017

The holidays are approaching and lucky you, you’ve saddled up with a significant other just in time for gift exchanges, Christmas cards, and New Year’s kisses. Excuse me while I roll my eyes at you. Jealousy and joking aside, the time has come for you to have the dreaded parent-meetthat much feared rite-of-passage when you have to put your best face forward and convince the rest of the fam that you’re worthy of your SO’s affection.

“Help!” you squeal in desperation. Although I’m single atm, I’ve had my fair amount of “meet-the-parents” in my day, so have no fearI’ve got you. Here’s your guide to meeting your SO’s family this holiday season.

 

Be mindful of your “bedroom” habits

Meeting an SO’s family is like going back in time to those awkward high school and college days when having sex meant sleuthing around to avoid parents and roommates. Keep in mind that you’re in a childhood home and remember to be quiet and, ideally, get your business done in the middle of the night when Granny is fast asleep.

 

Don’t get too drunk

Even if Dad is letting the Scotch flow freely, be careful about how drunk you get. Obviously, if the parents are into it, have some fun, but you don’t want to accidentally blurt out an embarrassing anecdote about your beau in bed or, god forbid, something about an ex.

 

Pander to the sibling

As a younger sister myself, I can tell you in full confidence: the sibling holds the key to the rest of the family and to your SO. If he/she doesn’t like you, you’re done for. My best piece of advice? Gently tease your SO and the siblings will flock. We’re hardwired for it.

 

Bring a small gift

This is especially useful if, as mentioned above, there’s a little sibling involved who you want on your side. A bottle of wine or some flowers for the parents don’t hurt, either. Anything to say that you thought about the family before heading out the door.

 

Dress to impress

Leave your ripped jeans and your mini skirts at home (maybe take out that facial piercing and groom your beard, too). Think job interview meets holiday party, but make sure to let your style shine through.

 

Make them laugh

Nothing breaks the ice like a mutually shared laugh. You’re not the only person on edgeit’s every bit as nerve-wracking for the parents to meet their child’s new partner, so make everyone’s experience a little smoother and crack a joke or two.

 

Ask questions

It’s the easiest way to fill the silence and everyone love to talk about themselves. Ask the parents how they met, ask the siblings about their classes, and ask Grandpa what things were like before the internet. Whatever gets people talking.

 

Ask to see baby pics of your SO

It kills a lot of time and mothers always love this one.

 

Avoid PDA

This isn’t high school, folks. Save your canoodling and kissy faces for the bedroom. You’re just going to make the family uncomfortable if you spend the whole time swapping gum. Hand holding and a few pecks on the cheek are acceptable but keep those hands and tongues where I can see them, mister.

 

Take part in family activities

Do they participate in an annual turkey trot? Do they love playing board games the night before Christmas? Is there a traditional game of charades or arts and crafts? Get your game face on and join in. Even if your SO is rolling her eyes, you’ll be the golden child if you join in.

 

Be yourself

Your SO picked you for a reason, whatever that reason might be. And maybe you’re getting grilled by the family and it’s clear that they don’t like you but heyat the end of the day the only person you really need to impress is your honey. The rest of the fam will come around eventually.

By

Eloise is a food and lifestyle writer who enjoys waxing poetic on the best burgers and martinis, and inevitably overshares about her dating life. Los Angeles raised and Bay Area based, she is Rally’s Associate Editor with a penchant for Frasier, crop tops, and cats. Follow her on Instagram @eloissse.

More articles by Eloise Porter

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