7 Ways To Flourish During Thanksgiving With Your Significant Other's Family

Life & Love | Bené Viera | 11/25/2013 | 09:00 AM EST

A few helpful tips on getting through the holiday will ensure everyone is happy

It’s Thanksgiving and you’re spending it with your significant other’s family. It’s your first time meeting them. You’re nervous and want to make a good impression. Although you’ve been grown for a long time, your nerves have you feeling like a lustful teenager meeting the parentals for the first time. Breathe. Exhale. We’re going to help you make it through this Thanksgiving with your beau’s family without any kerfuffles.

1. Don’t Show Up Empty-Handed

Obviously your partner’s family will have the Turkey or Ham, dressing, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce and pies on deck. They’re probably not expecting you to bring a dish, but don't show up with just a hug and growling stomach. If you make a mean green bean casserole, bring it! Show up with your favorite wine or champagne. Don’t risk getting a side-eye from the matriarch of the family because you showed up empty-handed.

2. Offer to Help

Help with anything. Cleaning greens, running to the store, taking out the trash. Most likely your significant other’s family will treat you like a guest. They’ll have you relax while they prepare everything. Fine and dandy. Ask anyway. One way to earn a few cool points is to offer to help clean up the kitchen after the feast. Small gestures of a helping hand go a long way.

3. Blend In

Everyone in the family (including grandma and pop-pop) are playing Bowling on the Nintendo Wii. This isn’t the time for you to profess how much you loathe video games. Play and have fun. You don’t want to be the girlfriend/boyfriend who sat out while the entire family participated in an activity. Not a good look.

4. Be You  

It’s natural to bring the best representative of yourself in lieu of your totality. Perhaps a little change is necessary, for example if you typically quote hip-hop lyrics in everyday conversation maybe skip quoting Biggie that day. But who knows, maybe his/her Big Mama loves a little hip-hop. Then those lyrics are fair game. Other than minor alterations, it’s best to come as yourself. Better for the family to get to know and like the real you versus presenting an image you’ll have to keep up in the future.

5. Be Able to Laugh at Yourself

A kid may blurt, “Your hair is weird,” in reference to your luxurious ‘fro. Laugh it off. Grandma may say, “Boy, take this plate home to put some meat on your bones.” Gladly do so. Launching into a righteous spiel about body-shaming with grandma or telling the child it’s rude to comment on someone’s appearance in that manner isn’t worth it. Joke, laugh. And if you’re quick witted make a funny, non-offensive comeback. It shows you don’t take yourself too seriously.

6. Don’t Be In a Hurry to Leave

You know your partner wants to spend time with his or her family. Even if you are bored out of your mind (hopefully you aren’t since you’re getting to know your significant other’s family) don’t dare suggest leaving any time before your mate asks, “Are you ready?” Prepare to be there all day and all night. Enjoy yourself.

7. Show Gratitude

This should be a given, after all it is Thanksgiving. Let the family know you’re grateful for their invite into their homes. Acknowledging that you appreciate the chance to spend time with them will leave a lasting impression.

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