Dating Scares: Meeting the Family 

Dating can be difficult not only because you are meeting someone new, but also it may come down to meeting that special someone’s family. Meeting the family can often be difficult and overwhelming, but by knowing how to approach the situation, the encounter can be smooth and painless. 

A main tip for meeting someone’s family is making sure the relationship is ready. Meeting someone’s family can be a big step in a relationship and making sure your significant other and yourself are at that stage is the first steppingstone. By introducing someone to your family, it can often create stronger ties in the relationship, potentially making a breakup more difficult if your significant other and family connect. Know where the relationship stands and know if this relationship is worth introducing to your family, because it can make things more difficult if the relationship takes an unexpected turn.   

The first thing a couple can do for meeting each other’s family is preparing for it. By just generally talking about each other’s family, it can help familiarize your significant other with your family and give them a general idea what to prepare for. By knowing if the family is quiet and reserved, or louder and more open, it may help prepare each other for future conversations and encounters.   

Building off of the last idea, the most important thing about meeting your significant other’s family is being yourself. Although it’s cliché, it holds true for these encounters. Understand that if your significant other enjoys your presence and likes you, it may directly parallel to their family’s feelings towards you as well. Being comfortable in your own skin helps radiate confidence, which is always important in meeting new people in general. Also, the family wants to get to know you as a person, so feel free to share! Do not shy away from speaking about yourself and interests just because you are scared you won’t impress them. This is your time to shine!  

Another big thing that goes with meeting someone’s family is manners and body language. By including all the main things like eye contact, a respectable handshake, using please and thank you, and being respectful to their family will further deepen their respect for you and your relationship. Additionally, these actions further demonstrate you have confidence in yourself. By being respectful and “proper,” it will help the family further accept the relationship and enjoy your respectful presence.  

While being introduced to their family, the family will most likely be interested in your life. Do not be afraid to show an interest in them. By asking them questions about their own lives, it will help develop a connection between you and the family, as well as demonstrate that you care about them. People usually enjoy talking about themselves, so this will help create conversation. It may even help to think of things to ask about beforehand in case the conversations end up becoming duller than you would like.   

Meeting your significant other’s family can be daunting, but with proper preparation and calm execution it can be very easy! By being yourself and being respectful, meeting the family can become simpler, and remember, you only have to meet them once. You got this. 

-Ben Nagy, Relationship Education and Violence Prevention Volunteer

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