Even if hanging out with your boyfriend is super easy, it doesn’t mean that hanging out with your boyfriend’s family is all that easy. It’s not even necessarily that you think your boyfriend’s family is annoying, but sometimes it just can be awkward to be more in “his” world rather than your shared one.
So if you’ve managed to win over his friends, how do you make sure you stay on the good side of your boyfriend’s family, too? Well, some of the strategies are similar and most of all, it just takes some practice. I’ve known my boyfriend’s family a long time and sometimes I still get nervous about going to his family events. Luckily, I’ve developed a few guidelines along the way that I remind myself of before spending time with them.
So want the low-down on how to hang out with your boyfriend’s family while keeping the awkwardness down, making a good impression and actually having fun? It’s possible! Here are ten steps for hanging with your boyfriend’s family.
Ask Them QuestionsWhen you're the "new person" people will bombard you with questions about your family and interests and life, which can get awkward if you don't love attention. Plus, even though they're asking, you don't want to seem like you talk about yourself constantly. Ask his family members questions! It's less time you have to answer and it will lead to more natural conversation and getting to know each other (not just like you're being studied). Source: Shutterstock.com
Keep The PDA LowLet's be honest - nobody likes to see or think about their family members doing hook-uppy (that's a word now) things. It's just awkward. While it's totally cool you guys are into each other and not afraid to show it, putting a pause on the PDA is likely to make family events that much less awkward. Honestly, if his sibling and their significant other started making out in front of you, you'd likely feel really excluded and uncomfortable, so that should remind you to avoid it as well. Source: Shutterstock.com
Don't Cling To Him...Beyond PDA, also don't superglue yourself (figuratively, but also literally!) to your boyfriend's side. It might look like you don't really care about any of the other people around. You have a great personality so don't feel like you need to be in your boyfriend's shadow at his family events. Just because you're there because of him, doesn't mean that you aren't entitled to enjoy things as your own person. Source: Shutterstock.com
...But Ask Him To Support YouAt the same time, your boyfriend shouldn't just drop you into a family event and then go do his own thing. If you're nervous, let him know and he can help be a buffer, starting conversation with family members he thinks you'd get along with. Basically be socially active, but it's also fair to ask for a little support from your guy. After all, he's the one who knows all these people. Source: Shutterstock.com
Don't GossipNearly every family I have met loves to gossip about the other members of their family. It's the way they bond, but at the end of the day it's "okay" because everyone is related and loves each other deep down. The point is when you are not family, do not engage in family gossip. It may be tempting or seem like a good way to fit in, but it could very easily turn around on you. You also don't need to lecture them about gossip. You can excuse yourself or just not really engage in the family gossip sesh. Source: Shutterstock.com
Don't Compare FamiliesIt's definitely cool to talk about your family, but just be careful how you phrase how you talk about your crew with his family. If they mention their usual camping trip and you chime in with, "Well, every year my family flies to Europe," it kind of seems like you are competing for "better family" status. All families are different! Nobody likes to feel insecure about their family, so while you wouldn't flat-out insult them, just try to be conscious of things like this that could subtly make it seem like you're knocking their family. Source: Shutterstock.com
Don't Be FakeThe biggest thing is just don't try to be something you're not. Definitely be polite, but you don't need to go into suck-up territory, which is very easy to do when you are actively trying to make a good impression. You don't need to dish out insincere compliments or fake laugh because it's likely other people will notice. Plus, it is exhausting for you to put on an act all the time. Just be your usual polite, but honest self! Believe me, it's more than enough. Source: Shutterstock.com
Be Willing To Participate...Don't just insist on hanging off by yourself. Whether it's offering to help prep food, participating in a cultural tradition or playing a game with the family, all of these show you're interested in being part of the group. It also keeps you from being bored or seeming like you're "too cool" for them. Of course if something makes you truly uncomfortable, your boyfriend should understand your choice to not participate. Source: Shutterstock.com
...But Know When To Step BackParticipate when situations call for it, but you don't need to force being included. Being too eager to jump in on everything can make people uncomfortable. While participation is appreciated, forcing your way into conversations or insisting you get inside jokes can feel intrusive and make things awkward. Don't be afraid to take a few moments to kind of observe and listen as you get to know them! Source: Shutterstock.com
It Gets Easier Over TimeThe first meeting with a boyfriend's family is bound to be awkward. In fact, make that the first few times, especially as you start to meet new people like aunts or cousins. It is true though that the more you hang out with them and meet them, the less awkward it will get over time. Feel free to keep up the conversation even after these individuals events with some kind of thank you card - that way you're interacting with them even in between those events and building your relationship with them. Source: Shutterstock.com
Do you ever find hanging out with your boyfriend’s family to be awkward? Tell us in the comments!