You know that slender waist that attracted your current partner to you; or maybe your rabid intellectualism, or how cute you looked while walking your pets—yes, basically, all or any of those random non-things that was the wow-factor in your happy love story; well, your partner’s family certainly doesn’t care about them. While you probably took no conscious effort to attract your partner, [except by being your wonderful self :D] when it comes to meeting the family, sis! you need to strategize o. As in, it has to be intentional. See, it is an important step in any romantic relationship, but I agree, the process itself can be nerve-wracking. From my experience, I can tell you that it’s helpful to keep in mind that first impressions matter. Now, I’m not asking you to go out of your way to plan that first meeting, but you need to put some thought in it. Here are a few tips to guide you through the process.
Before you even begin to prepare for the trip, talk to your partner. What are you afraid of? What are your concerns? What is making you nervous? Then ask for more details about the family, what do you need to know about this parent or that sibling? What is a topic his family doesn’t appreciate? Knowing the answers to questions like this can help you navigate conversations during the visit.
Next, choose a good time to visit. It doesn’t help if you visit during times that are not convenient for the family, it is only going to make the visit more awkward. Holidays are often the best time to visit since everyone would generally be more relaxed and in a good mood
Thirdly, buy a gift. Gifts help to break initial ice and awkwardness. But before buying please ask your partner what gift would be best. Put some effort into buying the gift though, don’t get basic items like socks or perfume. Does the mum like reading? Get a book.
When packing, ask about family traditions or events that will take place during the dinner. You don’t want to be under-dressed, over-dressed, or even uncomfortable in your clothes! The visit is stressful enough so please don’t add clothing discomfort to it.
Be yourself! It is you the family wants to meet; they are curious as to why their son or daughter is in love with you. Don’t try to put on airs, don’t try to sound intelligent. I’ll advise that you listen more during conversations and stay out of family arguments or banter! In subsequent visits, you can join but for that first visit, observe.
Helping out with chores. This is very controversial so I will say it depends on you and the type of family. Some families would prefer you to stay out of the kitchen and house chores, respect their wishes, don’t try to act as if you are the best worker, stay in your lane, and enjoy being cared for. Some will pull you in without qualms. Last Christmas, one of my friends met her boyfriend’s family for the first time. It was a huge family with so many grandchildren. It was impossible for her not to help the adults with cooking and cleaning and caring for the toddlers. This helped her to bond with the children and also their parents who were so grateful for the help. The one thing I stand against is that Nollywood type where the family actually expects you to work and serve them. Don’t do this, it doesn’t set a good precedent.
Finally, relax and enjoy the visit!