All it takes is a sweet compliment to his mother, or his grandmother a question she can readily answer -- about his history, or the family’s – to get them to realize you’re a nice person.
Does he wince at the thought of going home for Thanksgiving -- and taking you with him – because his family’s house is steeped in high drama? Here's how to get through it with a smile on your face (and on his, too):
1. Put On A Happy Face
A person’s facial expressions have a strong affect on those around her. His anxiety will level will go down several notches if he feels you’re happy to be there with him, and with them.
2. Lend A Helping Hand
Don’t ask if you can help out. Just get in there and do something. Whisk the potatoes. Set the table. Play hostess with the mostess by freshening everyone’s libation of choice. Not only will you be appreciated, you’ll show that you appreciate the care and concern he and his family are showing you.
3. Start A Conversation
His family is just as curious about you as you are about them. All it takes is a sweet compliment to his mother, or his grandmother a question she can readily answer -- about his history, or the family’s – to get them to realize you’re a nice person. (Maybe even nice enough to be a permanent fixture in the family.)
4. Stay Calm
Part of his anxiety is his fear that you won’t like the people who have been a part of his life, since Day One. To put him at ease, play it zen. If some conflict rears its ugly head, step away from the fallout zone. Just go with the flow, and he will, too.
5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Holidays are a double-edged sword. These major events, in which so many people of all ages and stages of life gather, are always filled with some form of conflict. Your boyfriend has the added stress of wondering if you, and whether they will like you, too.
That said, think before you speak. And if one of his relatives makes a gaffe, or says something cruel or hurtful, the best response is nothing but a smile. You and he can discuss any concern you feel later: when you have him alone – and when you’re back in the emotional space you share together.