Be Honest about what this means to you, your date, & family
So before you go inviting your new boo to the family function, be honest about what this means for you and your relationship with this person. What are your intentions of inviting them over? Is this a big deal for you? Do you want your family to meet them to see if they would be well received? Whatever the reason, get real with yourself before you extend the invite. Also be mindful of what this may mean to your date and your family. You may think it's no big deal to have people over for the holidays but to the person you’re dating as well as your family; it may mean a step in a more serious direction for the relationship. Whatever it is, check in with each other and have open discussion BEFORE your overzealous aunt asks if you two are heading down the aisle anytime soon.
Set boundaries with all parties involved
Speaking of overzealous aunts; set boundaries with your family BEFORE you bring your date over. This is your guest and quite possibly the first introduction your partner will have to extended family, friends and neighbor etc. that they may have never met before; so you want it to go smoothly. You obviously can’t control people and circumstances but you can verbally express what you would like to see out of people when in it comes to your partner. Be clear, be honest, and be respectful. In terms of your date, feel free to set boundaries with them also. If an invite to a family gathering is just that and not an invite to become overly involved with your family members; be honest about that.
Give your date the heads up
Give your date the necessary run down about people in your family that might be a challenge or traditions that may differ from theirs. If you know that someone in your family is usually inappropriate after a couple of glasses of good ole egg nog; let your date know. If your great uncle is mean and surly to everyone, let your date know. No one’s family is perfect and it can be quite the bonding experience updating your date about all the little happenings that occur every year; I’m sure your date will have some of their own stories to share in return.
Part of bringing a date to the holidays is actually experiencing some of that initial anxiety and awkwardness that comes along with introducing someone new. It’s like a rite of passage and no one is truly immune to it. Go with the flow of things and enjoy the time spent with the ones you care about. Happy Holidays!
This topic of the week was written by Alanna Gardner, MFT