If there's ever a time to blast that played-out song "Lose Yourself," it’s right before meeting your girl's family for the first time over the holiday season. Stakes are crazy high towards the end of the year, primarily off the strength of so many people gathering for a family meal. Her parents (or future in-laws), love ‘em or hate ‘em, act as their own judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to your lady’s love life. It’s a biased court, so you face a tough task as soon as you walk through the door. Tough, but not impossible. Time to nut up and show them you’re the right guy for her.
As with all master plans, military operations, or booze runs, massive amounts of recon are necessary. You need to find out family traditions well in advance so you can properly get a feel for what you’re up against. Some families are quirkier than others, and some more formal. Get the dress code down pat weeks out so you know exactly what to pack in advance. Acceptable attire can range from hoodies and sneakers to chinos and loafers. Whatever you wear, just make sure you dress just a bit nicer than required so you’ll impress. There’s no quicker way to blow it than to come under-dressed. You can always take off that blazer or tie if the time comes but don’t show up looking like a slacker skipping out on a.m. classes. Make sure you reach out to ole girl’s childhood friends and learn who to avoid and who to reach out to during the fam gathering. No use trying to chat up the drunk (possibly racist) uncle if he won’t remember you tomorrow, dig? Commit names and personality types to memory and have a few cheesy flattering lines ready to go.
Arrive 10 minutes before scheduled, if you’re on time, you’re late homie. Never show up empty handed either. Pick your girl’s brain for ideas and she’ll steer you in the right direction. If she says “Oh, don’t worry you don’t need to bring anything!” Ignore that, it’s terrible advice and just grab a bottle of red wine. As soon as you hit the door, smiles and firm handshakes all around. Limp-wristing a greeting means you’ve just outed yourself as a fuckboy who’s never worked a networking room in his life. Remember the eye contact, and don’t bust out the nicknames before you’ve been approved to do so. You gotta earn that right from the family before you get that pass. Now find your seats at the table and let the interrogation begin.
Let's all keep it 100 here, the main targets to please are the parents. Ancillary family members like drunk aunts and sassy grandmothers deserve some attention but ultimately focus on the starting lineup. Always be aware of their body language and demeanor. History says the hardest sell is the dad, and while she might say her pops is a big teddy bear, in reality, he’s probably hardass who has likely killed for food in his lifetime. He can smell fear and fuckery a mile away so come correct. Be honest about who you are as a person, and avoid talk of sex, religion, and politics at all costs. Don’t embellish your career either, if you’re an intern, say so, but keep the focus on your goals in the near future. If you’re a tech bro with more money than you know what to do with, break down your profession in plain English and breeze into talking about them, or segue into how you and his daughter met. Keep the heat off of you and maybe you can get to post-dinner NBA action without the “what are your intentions with our daughter,” talk. Remember silence is golden. If you get caught up in an awkward convo, just say as little as humanly possible without being rude. Better to be thought of as the silent type than some socially awkward idiot. Divert the awkwardness, don’t be the source of it.
After dinner starts winding down, offer your dishwashing services or at the very least, lend a hand in cleanup. Compliment the chef, the home, and the hospitality. Sit and engage in chit chat for a bit, and be the second or third party to leave. Being the first folks to leave sends the word out that you didn’t enjoy your time there at all. Not good. If you notice the drinks flowing freely, be wary and keep your head on a swivel. Drunkenness has led to more family fistfights than bombed M. Night Shyamalan movies, trust. Best to avoid trouble before it starts. Head straight home, unwind with your favorite cocktail and give yourself credit for (probably) aceing the most important test of your life. Congrats, champ.