Welcome to our continued month long celebration. It’s time to talk about that dreaded Thanksgiving holiday dinner with family and bringing a new date.
We have our guest blogger Demetrius of Tao of Indifference holding it down for the fellas….
There is no better time to introduce your new love interest to your family then during Thanksgiving. On the other hand, there is not another more stressful time to introduce your new love interest to family than Thanksgiving. The pressure is definitely going to be turned up because there are few gatherings that bring the family and friends together like Thanksgiving. I think it’s a great time to introduce your love interest to the people that matter in your life because you get everyone in the same room and get to do introductions in one shot. On the other hand, the scrutiny will definitely be turned up because you’re bringing in an outsider into a very intimate setting. Don’t worry though; there is a way to survive Thanksgiving with a new love interest.
First step: Make sure that the major figures in your family or friend group know that you’re bringing a date, and also know who your date is. Every family dynamic is different, but in my family I tend to tell the matriarchs if I’m dating someone and if they will be coming to Thanksgiving. In my case, that’s my mother, my sister, and my aunt if she’ll be there. You don’t have to call every single person who might be there, just tell the ones that need to know, like the people who are hosting, and especially the people who raised you. My mother raised me, and I’m especially close to her so she needs to know first. My sister hosts Thanksgiving, and she thinks she’s basically my second mom, so she has to know too. Your situation might be a bit different though. If grandma raised you, tell her first. If your uncle and aunt are hosting, tell them too. If you’re doing more of a Friendsgiving sort of thing, tell the host, your closest friends, and maybe the chattiest ones in your group because you know they’ll get the word out. You want to make sure that when you show up with your date and start introducing her to people no one says “Who is this?” Nobody wants that!
Second step: Prepare your date. We all have a relative or friend who, let’s put it nicely, speaks their mind without regard for anyone’s feelings. You know who I’m talking about, that one person who would “I liked the last girl, what ever happened to her?”. If your date knows what to expect, she won’t be caught off guard, and hopefully that wil mitigate some of the damage. Also, if she has dietary restrictions of any kind, whether elective or allergy based, you need to prepare her. If she doesn’t eat meat, don’t bring her to Thanksgiving without telling her there is meat in almost all of the vegetables. That might not be the case at your Thanksgiving table but it is definitely the case at my family’s table.
Third step: Prepare your family. If you followed through with step one, your family knows you’re bringing a date. Now, just make sure they know anything that might be relevant about your date. That can include your date’s race, religion, dietary restrictions, language spoken, marital status, etc. Whatever you think is something people need to know. If your date has dietary restrictions, let your host know ahead of time. Not in a way that says “Can you make something specifically for her” but rather do it in a way that says “She doesn’t eat X, so please don’t be offended if she doesn’t eat X if you make it”. Many cultures view the refusal to eat food as an insult, so you want to avoid offending someone. If she doesn’t eat pork, let your host know why so they don’t think your date is just a picky eater.
Last step: This might sound silly, but when you walk in make sure to introduce your new love interest to your family, in context. When you walk in, introduce her to people with their name and their relation to you. “Hi, this is my date. Date, this is my sister, Nia, she’s the host”, something along those lines. This will help your date feel as though she’s welcome, and your host and the other guests will feel as though they met your date.
Beyond that, just try to have fun. Enjoy the food, the family and friends, and make sure your date feels like she’s included in the fun. When you’re leaving, make sure you and your date say goodbye to all the folks you introduced her to if they’re still there, and breathe a sigh of relief that Thanksgiving is over and done with.
Good Luck Out There.