A large part of growing up is relationships and while being in a relationship is wonderful, one of the hardest parts of it is your significant other’s family. When the time comes everyone in a relationship is forced into the awkward situation of the first holiday season with the in-laws. And while yes, in-laws is a term typically used for married couples, for the purpose of this article the term will refer to a boyfriend or girlfriend’s family. Now, the first holiday season with the in-laws is scary, therefore, this handy-dandy little guide should hopefully help you survive Thanksgiving without any major catastrophes, faux pas or trips to the hospital.
There are a few important things to remember, first off: conversation. This is a tricky topic because the wrong conversation starter can ruin an entire evening. For instance, do NOT under any circumstance, no matter how good of an idea you think it may be, bring up politics. That may be the moment when you find out that your significant other’s dad wants to shoot every pot smoking homosexual who is in favor of charter schools. If that’s your thing, then great, you two may get along. However, if you are against murder then you’re in for an awkward evening.
Another topic to avoid is football or sports in general. Unless, the in-laws bring it up, it’s not good to address it. Why? Simply for the fact that it can end in one of three ways: First, you could all agree on everything and have it be a success (this probably will not happen). Second, your loyalty to the sport could get tested/quizzed to the point that you look like an idiot. Third, your favorite team could possibly be their least favorite team (quite possible).
After small talk, it is probably going to be time for appetizers/drinks or even just dinner. There are some important things to remember for dinner. First off, if they offer you alcohol, it is probably best to say no unless others are also drinking. This potentially could be a trick or even worse, you’ll just end up being the only drunk person at Thanksgiving dinner. It’s fine to drink around the in-laws (in fact, you may NEED a drink) but definitely take cues from other people before you start drinking.
Also, if you have spent a majority of your time eating in the COG and have picked up some bad table habits, definitely correct those before dinnertime. YouTube some etiquette videos and save yourself the embarrassment of looking like a savage at the dinner table. There is nothing more embarrassing than shoveling food into your mouth for five minutes straight before you stop and notice that everyone else is staring at you.
Finally, just a few more things to remember:
Bring some type of gift (a jar a jam, flowers, etc). Something that says thank you for welcoming me into your home.
Do not play on your phone the entire time. While this may be something common for you and your family, some families are offended by it.
Offer to help, whether bringing food out, getting people drinks or clearing the dishes. Even if the in-laws say no, they will appreciate the thought.
And lastly, no matter what, do not get caught hooking up (whether making out or whatever it is that you please to do during the holiday season). This will make the rest of the evening awkward beyond words, that is if the in-laws even let you stay after that…