by Meredith Turits, Glamour
Holiday cheer! Beverages that end in "-nog"! Your boyfriend's relatives screaming at each other as you awkwardly stand there, noting you are related to none of these people, yet here to witness this all go down!
So, hopefully this won't be the case for you, but, honestly, it's possible. Holidays are difficult for lots of reasons," says Dr. Deanna Brann, Ph.D, and clinical psychotherapist. "It's a stressful time anyway for most people, but people also have a Norman Rockwell mindset for what that is supposed to be, and not many people have that. Issues are magnified, worst behavior starts to come out." Brann is also the author of Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law, so I tapped her to spill all the wisdom she had to help survive visiting your guy's family for the first time.
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Behold, Brann's has these top three tips to keep in mind:
1. Be a team player. When you go over to their house make sure you ask if there's anything you can do to help, and volunteer to do things. "Start to get to know these people," she says. And if you can, spend lots of time with his mother. "Ask questions, chat with her, compliment her. Start to get to know her independent of your significant other."
2. Don't take anything that happens personally. "It's a very stressful time, so people's behaviors may be exaggerated. Don't assume you're being slighted or ignored," Dr. Brann says. "This is just a holiday day." And don't put all of your opinion eggs in one basket. She says to wait until you have your alone time with the family in a non-holiday situation to really figure out how you feel about them. Find the humor in the situation. If you are having a hard time, just laugh. Even if the night ends up pretty horribly, Brann says you'll at least end up with great stories.
3. And for those of you who are staying over for the first time (get a hotel if possible, says Brann!), me-time is way-important. "Try to find sometime during the day to get some downtime for yourself," she says. Take a walk. Volunteer to make a run to the market. Get out of the four walls of the house if you can!
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Regardless of what you do, and how many times you've visited, holidays can be contentious. An alternate way to kick the tension if you feel unwelcome: Focus on the other people who are there, find someone who you do like and is connecting with you. Hang out with the kids or get involved with some of the other people there. "The key is to be pleasant and charming the whole time. Do it in a nice, casual way," Brann says.
Hang out and watch Disney movies? Check! Hopefully your visit will be smooth sailing--but if it's not, at least you'll have a bag of tips 'n' tricks to help.
Are you visiting your guy's family this holiday? Have you ever had a conflict? How did you deal?
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by Meredith Turits, Glamour