You want your boyfriend to feel comfortable the first time you take him home to your familyÃ¢â‚¬”but there's a good chance he'll end up feeling like a tourist stuck in a city where he doesn't know the language, the customs, or how the hell to get home.
Fear notÃ¢â‚¬”if the guy you're with is any good, he'll look past the inevitable awkwardness of being thrown into a house with people he's never met before. And if you take a few precautionary measures, he'll find your family's groove in no time. To make sure his initiation is seamless, here's what you need to do:
Warn Him About Your Brother Who Can't Stop Talking Politics
If you don't have a brother who can't keep his extremely liberal views to himself, you have something similar: a grandpa who tells off-color jokes, a sister whose vegan ethics stipulate that she absolutely must talk about the senseless murder of animals while you're gnawing the meat off a turkey boneÃ¢â‚¬”you get the idea. You've accepted these lovely people because they're your family, and your boyfriend will, tooÃ¢â‚¬”just let him know ahead of time how he should handle the situation. Like: "Yes, it's OK to politely chuckle when my grandpa announces that the only thing a woman can drive is a man nuts." Good one, gramps.
MORE: How Your Parents Impact Your Relationships
Prep Him for Your Family's Traditions
Every year, my mom makes this pistachio-flavored whipped-cream dessert called Watergate salad. And every year, my brother and I fight over it. The fight has become something of a performanceÃ¢â‚¬”an artful way for us boys to show our mom that we love her masterpiece (regardless of the fact that she pulled the recipe off the back of a Cool Whip tub). At this point, the feud can safely be called a tradition. If I didn't prep a date for that kind of immaturity, she'd probably get the wrong impression about my appetite for dessert. Likewise, your S.O. will want to know about the unique traditions he can expect at your house so he's not blindsided by them.
MORE: How to Get Rid of Emotional Family Baggage
Give Him the Backstory
Every family has inside jokes. You'll say something cryptic like, "Nice jacket, DadÃ¢â‚¬”better not let Nick get ahold of it," and everybody will laugh. What your boyfriend doesn't know is that your brother Nick once spent a summer honing his stuntman skills by running through thorn bushes wearing your dad's favorite jacket for protection. So any time a vague reference comes up, tell the story. From the beginning. Everybody will enjoy hearing it again anyway, and you'll let your boyfriend in on the joke so he doesn't feel like an outsider.
Do Your Gift Exchange Beforehand
A guy's bound to feel vulnerable as you peel the wrapping paper off the first Christmas gift he's ever given you. And if your entire family's watching, it'll be torturous. So save him the anxiety and plan a private exchange between just the two of you.
Read more from Women's Health's Guy Next Door.