During a Meet-Up will come a point where you will meet your partner’s family members. And in that moment you might be exactly how I was.
Totally freaking out 🤯
Before I met his family, Tuomas and I talked a lot about them. We made sure that I knew how to pronounce the names of his immediate family and some of his extended family.
It was reassuring to have a general idea about who everyone was and his relationship with them.
I might have also done some Facebook + Instagram stalking
It’s just one of those things you do 😅💁♀️
Try to gather as much information before so that way you are fully prepared to meet the most important people to your special person.
Here are some tips to help you navigate meeting your partner’s family for the first time.
Learn About Cultural Differences
The first time I went to Finland I met Tuomas’ family. At first, it was very overwhelming.
This was when the realization hit me. We are in a multi-cultural relationship.
Multi-cultural relationships are tricky to navigate through. It’s understanding that whatever you identify as you social normal, isn’t normal anymore.
You’ll notice that ways of thinking and how things are done are going to be completely different.
When I met Tuomas’ family was a little overwhelming. We had just met, and exchange pleasantries. Then all of a sudden I was naked in a sauna with them.
If you don’t know about Sauna, it’s a very Finnish thing to do. And you know what they say do as the Finnish do.
When you’re in a long distance relationship, you will be challenged to adapt your cultural lens to your partner’s. It will take time, but try to see the world from their perspective, especially when you are visiting their country.
Learning y’all’s cultural difference will also help when talking to family. A lot of times they will be impressed that you know so much about their culture.
It can be a lot when you meet your partner’s family for the first time, that’s why it’s important to breathe and be yourself.
Also, this isn’t me saying be the best version of yourself, because that is unneeded stress and pressure.
Just be completely yourself 💯
That’s the version of you that your partner fell in love with so be confident in it. If social situations make you feel anxious then talk to your partner about it.
Discuss with your partner what type of setting you’ll be meeting everyone in, that way y’all can work together as a team when you are meeting the family.
Bring a Small Gift
I was raised in a house that celebrated the idea of southern hospitality and what it means to be a good guest. Southern hospitality has been ingrained in me.
That’s why whenever I have been invited into someone’s home I bring a gift. It’s my way of saying “Thank you for accepting me into your home”.
My gifts are usually small, like a bottle of wine, fruit, cheeses, a bouquet of flowers, etc. Basically, something that you can pick up at the grocery store on your way there
A small gift is a nice gesture and it’s a great icebreaker.
It helps to give you something else to talk about other than the grilling questions like how did y’all meet, what your future life plans, etc.
Get to Know More About Them and Your Partner
What I love about meeting Tuomas’ family is that I get a chance to learn about a side of him that I never knew before.
That’s also when you get to see all the baby pictures 😍
Asking your partner’s family more about themselves is also a great way to steer the conversation away from you. Especially if you are feeling uncomfortable talking about yourself.
If your partner’s family doesnt speak the same language as you, I would recommend using google translate.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the best as it gives you very weird translations.
It’s the thought and effort put into communicating with your partner’s family that matters.
Your partner’s family will appreciate you trying to bond with them. It will show them that you are engaged in your relationship.
You never know, you might be able to bond over some music.
This is how I was able to bond with Tuomas’ grandparents when I went out there. We bonded over Christmas Music and figuring out which songs were in both cultures.
Stay Present and Limit Distractions
When you are meeting family it is best to limit all distractions so you can stay present and engaged in what y’all are doing.
Really though, nothing is worst than having a guest over and there are in their cell phone the entire time.
It could be seen as being disrespectful, even though some use it as a way to escape the pressure of talking.
If you are someone who likes to take lots of pictures and share it to your social media.
You should consider asking your partner’s family for permission first. In some cultures, this may not be socially acceptable behavior.
Don’t Overthink Your Outfit
I am the type of person who gets so excited when meeting people because it gives me a chance to show my personality in what I am wearing.
I also know that there is a time and place for certain outfits.
When meeting family it’s best to dress casually. Keep it low key and simple.
You will feel more comfortable and you can still make a casual outfit really cute with the right accessories.
Offer to Help
What I love that Tuomas has such a big family. It is also interesting to see what everyone’s role is when it comes to setting up the dinner table to breaking it down.
This also made me feel a little left out. I wanted to help in some way because I hate just sitting there doing nothing.
So I jumped in and asked his sisters what I could do to help. This was also a great way for me to get to know the family dynamics a little better.
Offering to help also let me see what Tuomas’ role was, then we did the role together.
Because washing dishes is a team effort 💪
If you do decide to offer help, make sure you are doing it from a place of sincerity. That means listening to other’s opinions on how they want you to handle the task.
Is you don’t know, PDA stands for public display of affection. Depending on you and your partners cultures PDA can mean different things.
It would be a good idea to talk to your partner about what type of touching you’re okay with in front of others and vice versa.
Especially in front of family, you and your partner should discuss what is and isn’t okay in their parent’s household.
Holding hands is the safest 🤗
Try to avoid being overly affectionate with you partner in front of their family. I understand that this a time where you’re excited to finally be with his partner.
Remember you are also there to visit them in their lives too.
At the End of the Day, Manners Matter Most
All of these tips circle back to one theme, respect. When you are meeting your partner’s family for the first time you are entering their homes and lives.
When you are in a multicultural relationship it’s important to be respectful to cultures
If you are nervous about meeting family, then discuss it with your partner. Let them know what you are nervous about and ways that y’all can both overcome the nerves together.