I’ve always struggled with this problem. How to introduce your new significant other to your family. Maybe it’s a problem with my mindset. After all, I did just refer to it as a problem. Maybe I should refer to it as a strategy, and be done with it.
Regardless of semantics and wording, the point is, I have been trying to figure this one out for years. I’ve already introduced 4 significant others to my family over the years, and I’m getting ready for a 5th one. And along the way, I’ve taken mental notes in order to see what worked and what didn’t.
Before I tell you a story of why planning is great, let’s talk about some actual plans. Having some activities ready, especially if there are kids in your family, is DEFINITELY a no-brainer. It will help ease the tension, distract from awkwardness, and possibly even provide some fun as well.
Spontaneous = Not Good
I can tell you my worst meeting. My parents had been giving me a hard time for not introducing them to my significant other due to the fact that we had been dating for over 6 months! Anyways, my girlfriend at the time surprised me one night and came into my city. We went out for a local drink, and I remembered that my parents were eating at a restaurant nearby. “Oh, hey, why not just stop by with my mysterious girlfriend who my parents knew so little about…” – that went through my head, sadly.
Anywho, we showed up, and let me tell you- the level of awkwardness was so awesomely great that it would take a team of social scientists wearing lab coats to dream up such an awkward scenario. Lesson = don’t be spontaneous, and please plan ahead!
I’ll tell you what worked very well once upon a time (so long ago I can barely remember!). I brought an ex girlfriend over on a Saturday afternoon to visit my family for the first time. I told her it would just be my dad. Thankfully, she knew a few details about my dad, namely that he was a huge reader, as well as an entrepreneur. So, she came bearing books, and brought a few random startup books that my dad absolutely loved, because they related to entrepreneurship. Score one for my ex-girlfriend! Sadly it didn’t work out between us, but my dad did love her!
The reason I sat down to write this article is because indeed, in the next few weeks, I will be introducing my current significant other to my parents. I’m trying to take the lessons from past experiences to make sure that it works out well, namely because I think this one is the keeper.
You might be wondering what my plan is. Well, simply enough, I plan to take parts of the good interactions in the past: I will make sure my girlfriend will bring a gift. Maybe another book about small business (though that may be too obvious). But a gift nonetheless. Additionally, I’ll prepare all members of the family (my younger siblings will be home), and I’ll get everyone excited about various family activities that we plan to do together.
Beyond that, all I can really do here is pray that everything goes well, that my parents love my girlfriend, and if not, I’ll have to return to this blog and write something sad, regretful, and bitter. Just joking – that won’t happen. My plan is foolproof. Why, you ask? Because just in case it all goes to hell, I've told my girlfriend to read this article about dad jokes and memorize all of them. Now THAT is a foolproof backup plan.