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Surviving the first Thanksgiving with your significant other's family

What are you thankful for?
What are you thankful for?

Dating over the holidays seems like a dream come true. You finally have someone to take to family events and parties! Yes! No more going solo for you! But then it occurs to you that you’ll also have to go to your significant other’s events and parties…which may be a little out of your comfort zone.

So you’re going to meet your mate’s family at Thanksgiving dinner…his or her entire family. You’re excited, nervous and ok, plain terrified. You don’t want to make a bad impression. You want them to like you. You don’t want to act like an idiot. No problem.

First, be yourself. Not the silly, dirty joke telling self…the exemplary, upstanding wonderful self that you know you can be when you’re in a more formal setting. Dress nice, clean up and make yourself presentable. Get tips from your date on what type of atmosphere it will be so you can be prepared. Be friendly, personable and polite. You’ll relax as the day goes on and so will the other guests once they get to know you. It’s also considered a nice gesture to present your host with a small gift thanking them for inviting you. Wine or flowers are usually a good choice.

Next, speak up. Introduce yourself and get to know everyone. Act like you’re genuinely interested in what they’re saying. So Grandma likes to knit? Tell her about the beautiful scarf your sister made you last year. Uncle Joe likes cars? Tell him about the ’62 Camaro your brother rebuilt when he got his drivers license. Get the idea? You don’t have to know anything about it to be a part of the conversation. And when they ask about you, don’t clam up. Smile and tell them about your interests and what makes you witty and wonderful. Obviously your date thinks so or they wouldn’t have brought you, now you just have to make their family see that too. It’s not that hard but remember not to overdue it…no one likes to listen to a bragger!

After dinner, remember to say thank you. When it’s time to leave, thank the host and/or hostess for their hospitality and for the wonderful meal. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting everyone and that you’re looking forward to seeing them again soon. Be gracious, kind and respectful and believe me, they won’t hesitate to ask you over for Christmas!

Feeling Thankful? Please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission’s Thanksgiving Wish List!

Donations can be dropped off at the Mission’s Donation Center:
616 7th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203 • Open Monday - Saturday, 7:00 am - 7:00 pm