COLUMN: Are the holidays the right time to take that special someone home?
Published: Monday, December 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 21:12
The holiday season is upon us and brings traditions and memories with friends and family. But it also makes us start to think seriously about the state of our new relationship. Should you bring them home and include them in family and holiday festivities?
If the relationship is just starting out, I think it’s important to let the person you’re dating know they are on your mind during the holiday season, but don’t be too hasty to bring them home during this time centered around family. It may mean you want them to join the family, and unless you’re ready to consider that, don’t consider bringing them home with you. If you haven’t been dating long, chances are you’ll bring a different guest around next year.
Before you jump into anything, you should first question in your head how committed you are to each other. Ask yourself if he or she is really that serious about you and answer honestly before you decide to subject your family and them to such a meeting. If one or both of you is dating other people, the automatic answer should be no. If you’re not at all sure about the whole thing, err on the side of just spending the time with you and your family.
Also, how formal is your family? If your family is open and non-traditional, you shouldn’t sweat the decision. But if your family takes you bringing someone home as a serious commitment, it will undoubtedly take more thought. It will be a big deal, and everyone involved will need to be prepared.
You should prepare your new boyfriend or girlfriend for any surprises concerning your family that will be different from what they’re used to. It will help if they expect the overly racist grandma or sarcastic uncle, so they won’t be offended at the constant jokes directed at them and can prevent offending grandma in the process.
When telling them about your family, be sure to tell them about any traditions or rituals your family has. Also, tell them if there’s any special seating arrangements — for example, if the parents sit at the head of the table or young children eat in a special area. Never ever sit in dad or grandpas favorite chair: He may hold a grudge for years.
Before leaving for your destination, always discuss sleeping arrangements before anything else. Understand that maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend may not want to spend the night in your parents’ or family’s home. Be sure to make arrangements before you leave: This way, you’re both clear about the plans.
Most importantly, once you get there make sure you take the time to introduce your guest. It’s easy to forget when you may have been away from your family for a while, but this can make or break the experience for your boyfriend or girlfriend. There’s nothing worse than being left standing awkwardly while everyone affectionately welcomes their son or daughter with enthusiasm while others stare at you waiting for you to say something.
Always keep in mind your boyfriend or girlfriend’s feelings. Don’t just leave them while you go and catch up with your family members. Make sure to include them at all times possible, at least at the beginning while they are still settling in. If they look uncomfortable or a little isolated, it might be a good time to take a walk or drive together, then come back to the gathering.