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How Not to Make an Ass of Yourself While Meeting Your Partner’s Family for the First Time

‘Tis the season for not being awkward around your future in-laws, thanks to these five guidelines

Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
Published in
5 min readDec 10, 2021
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Meeting your partner’s family for the first time can be nerve-wracking — especially during the holiday season. It’s the time of year when loved ones gather in the spirit of peace and joy, and you definitely don’t want to be the guy who ruins it with an inappropriate joke or general awkwardness.

On the other hand, for some families, the holidays are a stressful time fraught with petty arguments and side-eyed judgments; you definitely don’t want to get caught in the crossfire of that bullshit.

With so many names and faces to remember, bad jokes to fake laugh at, and badass kids running around the house, you might find yourself needing a break.

When meeting a woman’s family, especially her parents, there can be a lot of pressure to impress and/or remain neutral amid family squabbles, all while supporting your partner. Being introduced to folks who might one day become your in-laws can either feel natural and welcoming or awkward and uncomfortable.

Either way, if you want to keep your relationship on solid ground, you’d better be on your best behavior when meeting your partner’s folks this holiday season. Which shouldn’t be too hard as long as you abide by the following advice.

Do your research

Chances are, your girlfriend has told you quite a bit about her family over the time you’ve been together. If you’ve been paying attention, you likely know all about the relationship dynamics with her parents and extended family, as well as details about their marriages, children, experiences, and dramas. Before meeting her family, brush up on what you’ve learned and make a mental Cliffs Notes of that shit.

Get advice on what not to say or do around certain people. Perhaps her favorite uncle has struggled with alcoholism, so you should think twice before offering to fix him a gin and juice. Maybe her…



Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
Writer for

3x New York Times Bestselling Author | 'The House of Ill Repute (Kensington Publishing, 2024)