Mars Venus Coaching talks turkey on Easter!
Mars Venus Coaching talks turkey on Easter! Easter is one of those times when old traditions mix with new relationships. And if your boyfriend or girlfriend comes from a close-knit or BIG family…there is not getting past meeting the family over this holiday. So what are some things you can do while you’re stressing out about meeting the future in-laws? What if you just started dating? How can you make this event smooth, and still come across as your fabulous, confident, charming self?
If you’re newly dating…you are in the spring of your relationship when all is fresh. It seems like you will be happy forever, and you cannot imagine not loving your partner. Or perhaps you’re into the summer of your love—and you’re beginning to realize that the relationship to survive will require work on both of your parts.
Here are some tips to help you get through Easter brunch with your date’s family. Bringing along flowers or a corsage for the matriarch isn’t a bad idea. Neither is a local pastry or handicraft for the patriarch.
1. Waiting to be seated:
You may have met previously at church, or at someone’s house before driving over the country club. During these first few moments of meeting make sure when you meet each family member, repeat their name and connect the first letter of their first name with a mnemonic device—such as a celebrity with the same name, and the family member and this celebrity doing something silly or off-the-wall together. You could also either compliment them on something your date told you about them beforehand, or ask them a quick ice-breaker question to get to know them better.
The important part to remember is to smile, relax, and be your genuine self. If you aren’t generally a talker, make a joke and let them know it may take you a few moments to open up while you learn everyone’s names and how everyone is related to one another.
2. In the buffet line:
While you are getting seated, and then lining up for the buffet, don’t hesitate to start up discussions with those standing closest to you. One great way to start off a conversation is to continue what you were talking about when you first met, or asking about the traditions of their family on Easter. Have they all been coming to this same restaurant for the past few years? Who started the tradition? How often does everyone get together?
3. At the table:
While you’re sitting around the table—there may be a moment when a prayer is said, or people go about the table and say what they’re thankful for—have something prepared to say just in case. While you’re eating continue to ask questions about the different traditions in the family. If the family is interested and asks you what your family does—go ahead and share. If they are busy with feeding their kids, and getting caught up with other family members, you can always turn to the people closest to you and have quiet conversations. If you feel left out, chances are they are just busy getting caught up, jumping in to help feed or keep one of the little ones entertained, or engaging a tween or teen in a conversation about school will make the parents grateful you’re taking part in relieving some of the chaos!
When you are talking to the men in the family—remember that men typically view talking as a way to solve problems. So, if you’re talking about a work situation, or joking about something funny that you and your date have disagreed about—remember if you’re talking to a man, he may try to give tips or help you solve the problem. It can make some men uncomfortable if you’re just talking to talk. So, knowing this—if you come to an awkward point in the conversation, then ask for input. It offers a chance for him to feel like he made a connection with you. If you’re just talking to talk, then you may need to just smile and say thank you if any advice is given, and move on to the next topic.
When you are talking to the women in the family—remember that women typically view talking as a way to connect and relate. Bringing up childhood memories, and asking about grandparents, and things the family did growing up is a great way to see snapshots from your date’s childhood on what made him or her who she is today. If you do talk about a problem you are trying to figure out, and you want a suggestion, you may have to ask directly for input. Otherwise it is perfectly okay in this context to just talk it out. However, you’ll probably want to keep things relatively light as you are making first impressions!
4. During dessert:
Make sure to compliment the chef! In other words, whoever planned the event—make sure to give compliments and thank them for being invited. You can also offer to help chip in for your portion, the tip, or whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Remember when you are meeting the whole family, it really isn’t about you, about what you do, and how you make your date madly in love with you. Instead, this is a time to get to know your date’s family—what they do, what they’re interested in, and how they interact with your date. Asking questions about what his or her family members do, and how they have fun, etc., will give you a window into your date’s upbringing, and let you assess if you may be a part of this family’s outings in the future.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations