How to survive Thanksgiving as a couple
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, you’re probably looking forward to all that delicious food. But if your significant other has invited you to join their family for Thanksgiving dinner this year, you have even more to anticipate. Celebrating a major holiday with a partner’s family can be nerve-wracking, especially if this is your first time. Need some advice? Here are ten tips on surviving Thanksgiving with your significant other’s family:
1. Bring a treat
The best houseguests bring whoever is hosting a treat or gift. This could be a bottle of wine, some flowers, chocolates, or a homemade pie. If you know your partner’s parents like something in particular, bring that along.
Doing some prep work is helpful for surviving Thanksgiving with your partner’s family. That means asking your partner questions about what to expect or what you should watch out for. Also, consider how you’ll answer potentially awkward questions, such as when you’re getting married or having children.
3. Be yourself
Above all, try to be yourself. While it might be hard at first, you’ll get more comfortable as the evening goes on. What can help is having some stories prepared to tell others that illustrate who you are as a person. This could be a funny story about a time you went on vacation or stories about your family. Ensure you engage with the people around you to leave as good of an impression as you can without being fake.
4. Take a breather
Spending time with family, no matter whose family it is, can sometimes feel overwhelming. Take some breathers when you can, like stepping outside for some fresh air. It’ll help you to remain present, calm, and grounded.
5. Help out
Helping out is super important, and you should lend a helping hand whenever possible. Instead of asking if you can help, just help instead. For instance, walk into the kitchen and start washing dishes or clear the table — you’ll come across as the considerate person you are.
6. Say thank you
It’s essential to express gratitude while you’re at Thanksgiving with your partner’s family and afterward. But don’t go overboard because that might come across as disingenuous. Do express gratitude and appreciation whenever you can.
7. Respect boundaries
If you’re staying at your significant other’s family’s house, it’s crucial to respect their house rules. That means if your partner’s mom wants both of you to sleep in separate bedrooms, then respect that. You should also follow appropriate social cues — if your partner’s family aren’t huge drinkers, then don’t get drunk right before dinner.
8. Make small talk
When interacting with your partner’s family, you’ll want to avoid conversations that can lead to arguments, such as politics or sports. Instead, make small talk. Appropriate topics of conversation might include hobbies and interests, your job, and the weather.
9. Watch your manners
You’ll want to be on your best behavior when eating dinner. Remember that it is your time to shine. Turn off your phone, say please and thank you, chew with your mouth closed, and engage with all family members present. Don’t forget to give compliments to the chef.
10. Focus on your partner
If there’s a lot of stress or drama at your partner’s family’s Thanksgiving, just focus on your partner. It can help to ground you and give you the motivation to stay focused and present.
Keep calm and gobble on
Spending Thanksgiving with your significant other’s family can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember to prepare beforehand, follow the house rules, and take breaks throughout the evening, and you’ll do just fine.
- “7 Tips for Surviving The First Thanksgiving with Your SO’s Family,” Business Insider, October 28, 2018.
- “9 Tips to Survive the Holidays with Your Partner’s Family,” Style Girlfriend, November 11, 2015.
- “How to Survive the First Thanksgiving with Your Significant Other’s Family,” GQ Magazine, November 20, 2013.