The moment when your Uncle Joe calls your date by your ex’s name? Awkward! Avoid this embarrassment and help everyone feel more comfortable by following these tips before you bring someone new home for Thanksgiving dinner.
Define Your Relationship
Whether you’ve been casually dating for a few weeks or have been together for enough years to be considering marriage, it is important that you and your date are on the same page. Bringing someone home for the first time usually means that your relationship is somewhat serious. You don’t want to give someone you only consider a friend the wrong impression. Together, decide how to introduce your date. Special someone? Long-time girlfriend/boyfriend? If you want to keep it light, consider saying something like “This is James, my arm candy.”
Talk to Your Parents
Have a conversation with your parents so that they know what to expect. Let them know if there are certain topics you would like them to avoid. Say, the one that starts with “When are you going to put a ring on it?” If there are any sensitive issues with you date or important background information, be sure to let your parents know those things as well. Even seemingly polite questions like “What are your parents doing this year for the holiday?” can backfire if they are deceased or there are family problems.
Giving your parent a few talking points is a good way to avoid uncomfortable silences when you aren’t in the room. Recent vacations, professional accomplishments and hobbies are all things you may want to share. The more they know about the person you are bringing home, the easier it will be to get to know him or her even better.
If your guest has any food allergies or dietary restrictions, be sure to let your parents know about those as well. That shrimp dip they serve every year may be delicious, but not a great idea if shellfish sends your date into anaphylactic shock.
Make it Easy for Your Special Someone
Jeans and jerseys? Or pearls and pantsuits? Thanksgiving is different in every household. Avoid any surprises by letting your companion know how formal or informal your family celebrations are. There are few things worse than being a guest in someone else’s home and realizing you didn’t pack for the occasion properly.
Give your date some background information on some of the other guests. Any common interests they share—from favorite TV shows to similar professions—make it easier to get conversations started. When you make introductions, be sure to add points of interest whenever possible or introduce each other with thoughtful details.
Bringing a date to Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be awkward and uncomfortable. Communication is the key to making the day go as smoothly as possible. Do you have any other advice for our readers? Share it below.