Most firsts in a relationship are pretty great — the first date, the first kiss, the first time admitting that you’re both in love. But there are a few that aren’t so great. While those other moments are an exhilarating mixture of excitement and nerves, meeting the family can feel 100 percent scary.
It’s time for Mr Sir to meet your family, he’s actually the one who suggested it, all with the aim of starting dowry negotiations later on. Perfect, he’s coming to meet your mum and dad, all will be amazing! You may be excited but your mans insides feel like they are liquifying. Here’s how to help him:
Now, not everyone thinks this way. I have a few intrepid friends who brought their partner home all without a touch of nerves. (So brave, right?) But the rest of us look forward to the meeting with anxiety and fear. Will your mom like them? Will your dad say something weird? These are the overwhelming thoughts that can make the whole thing feel downright stressful.
And that’s a totally normal, and understandable, reaction. “Introducing one’s partner to family is a nerve-racking moment for many reasons,” and “One reason is that a first impression (according to studies) is a lasting impression. What your partner looks like, does, or says can create negative or positive opinions in the minds of one’s family for years.” Other factors can weigh heavy on the mind as well, such as how nervous your partner feels, or how positively your parents view your relationship. But never fear, because it doesn’t have to be awful. Read on for a few tips to make the whole thing go as smoothly as possible.
1. Calm him down
Meeting the parents is no easy feat, it’s a make or break process. First impressions are everything. If the two of you walk in and your parents look at the poor chap like he has lost way to loser-ville, it’s going to be a long meeting shrouded by an insane amount of awkwardness. Try to calm Mr Sir down. Many people tend to utter stupidity when they are nervous, so in an effort to have your parents like him, calm his nerves.
2. Dress him
Its no secret that parents judge individuals first and foremost by how they are dressed. Something about ripped jeans screams drug dealer and criminal in their minds. So, if Mr Sir is of this jambazi behaviour, it would be best if you picked out what he’d wear to avoid your dad asking, “Hii jambezi wa kamiti ulirokota wapi?”
Days before meeting the parents it is advisable to give Mr Sir a brief background on everyone. Tell him how your mum loves to cook Italian dishes but she isn’t that great at it, or how your dad is a die-hard Chelsea fan and will actually murder anyone that dares insult Chelsea . These pointers will help him start up a conversation and have your parents open up a bit more.
4. Dont throw him into the deep end
The poor chap is already drowning in nerves and allowing your parents to submerge him further is unfair. Every time you see your father slowly attempting to sink Mr Sir, come in and save him. Redirect the attack to yourself. Fathers tend to pose as the big bad bear in an attempt to figure out if a man is worthy of their little princess. Put up a force field to protect Mr Sir. You are a team and need to stand together. Don’t forget that.
5. Encourage him
Hold his hand, nod when he talks, look into his eyes, etc. These simple acts will act as an encouragement as he converses with your parents. Remember the fact that you even brought him home means you love him enough to want to share a life together and that love will be evident when your parents talk to him.
Personally, my family is A grade insane, my Mr Sir might need to see the therapist right after. But I’m worth it…I think.
6. Don’t leave them alone for too long
Of course your partner should be able to hold their own for a few moments alone. But don’t abandon them for too long, lest they feel ignored or lost in the crowd. Try to stay nearby, and do little things to show them you care. Think along the lines of touching their thighs, or squeezing their hand, according to relationship expert Anna Davies on SHAPE. This body contact will help them feel more relaxed.
7. Fill them on your family Dynamics
If you can foresee a misunderstanding, then let your partner know ahead of time by breaking down your family’s dynamics. “There’s no need to give him full editorial commentary on your feelings about your family members, just a broad overview on important or sensitive issues.This will help them roll with the proverbial punches.
8. Give your partner some talking points
Did your mom just get a cool new job? Did your dad just run a marathon? Great! Let your partner know. That way, if they’re stuck alone with your parents while you run to the bathroom for a minute, they’ll have something to talk about.
“Have your partner ask them how they’re doing and what’s new in their lives. “When [your partner]shows interest in them as individuals, they have an opportunity to have their own relationships with [your partner], which will make a future relationship more viable.”
9. Practice respect and good manners
I know we’re all far more lax than our parents are about “etiquette,” but older generations still value good ol’ fashioned manners, so it’s best to err on the side of conservative when meeting the parents. Make sure your partner knows, if they don’t already, to call your parents Mr. and Mrs. until they are told otherwise. Even the most chill of parents will appreciate it.
“Don’t presume familiarity that isn’t called for”. “Take it slow and get to know them over time, not all in one visit.”
Also, if your partner is staying for the weekend, make sure you ask your parents ahead of time for sleeping arrangements so it doesn’t turn into a fight as soon as you walk in the door. Yes, you are a grownup, and yes, you sleep with your partner in your adult life, but some families are traditional and prefer separate bedrooms. “If this is an issue, prepare your partner for the inevitability of sleeping in your little sister’s bedroom or on the couch”.
10. Remember you are forever your Parent child.
Resist the urge to get angry at your mom when she nags you about taking your allergy medication or asks you if you’ve eaten enough vegetables lately in front of you . She’s not trying to embarrass you — you’re just her little girl.
“Nothing’s more infuriating than living an adult life of independence, then going home to be treated as a child,”, “Our parents and siblings tend to ‘freeze us in the past.’ And though we’ve gone beyond that person that we were, this limitation can spark anger and outburst.”
No matter how old you are or how far away you live, you are your parent’s baby, and they’re going to break out the photo albums of you tap dancing whether you like it or not. But your partner will probably get a kick out of it, so don’t sweat it too much.