How to Survive Meeting Your Girlfriend’s Family at Thanksgiving

I still remember the first time I met my first serious girlfriend’s family for the first time. Before I go into the details, I want to let you know that the girl you think you know may be nothing like her family, or worse (in my case)—could be like them. And if you plan on meeting your girl’s family for the first time, doing it at Thanksgiving is a brave move. 

It all started with a few beers, a few shots and a bottle of wine during dinner. I was living in NYC in a cramped apartment that was scarcely 400 square-feet and had the nerve to call itself a two-bedroom one-bath place. 

Stumbling home, my inhibitions were replaced with the word words, I love you. At least that’s what my girlfriend thought I said. And so, a plan was hatched (by her) to buy plane tickets to visit her family as a plus one to Florida. 

I didn’t really know much about her family outside of the fact that her mother liked red wine and her father loved to play pool in the game room. She spoke of the bond that she had with her older sister who lived next door to their parents and how her brother deserved more compassion because of the shitty hand life had dealt him. 

The reality? Within the first five minutes of meeting her mother she asked me if I wanted to get high (to the horror of my girlfriend), her sister was insanely jealous of her and spent around 10 minutes talking about herself and my girlfriend’s most embarrassing party fouls like that time she danced on a bar or had to pee in the glow of car tail lights at an outdoor concert. Basically, her sister was performing a textbook cock block. 

And her brother might have had is own set of issues, but his humor was insulting and not in a good Don Rickles kind of way. He just kept poking fun at everyone at a fifth-grade level and intellect. He also stepped outside to hit a bong every few minutes and “mom” joined in. 

Needless to say, the flight home was a quiet one and I barely spoke to my girlfriend as I mulled over the past 38 hours of uncomfortable beds and moments. I damn near broke up with her before we even touched down at LaGuardia. 

Here are my takeaways from surviving meeting your girlfriend’s family: 

-Expect the unexpected or be prepared for your girlfriend to act a little “off.” Remember, these are her people or the ones that raised her and impacted who she is today. Or, it could go the other way and she clams up and retreats. Be ready to go into full observation mode. 

-Avoid the topic of religion and politics at all costs, and get the hell out of any room where Fox News or CNN is on. Seriously, high tail it out of there. 

-Don’t get drunk with the pervy alcoholic uncle in the family. Actually, don’t get drunk with the family alcoholic. Want to know which one is the heavy drinker? Typically, it’s the first person to pop the cork the earliest in the day. 

-Bite your tongue. You are most likely being sized up as worthy to date their daughter, so everything you are saying is being analyzed. You may even be baited into talking about sex, and not necessarily with your girlfriend but just general locker room talk. Instead of sharing any conquests or regrets over a beer goggle hookup, turn the conversation back to the stories of the guy conducting the covert inquest. 

Follow these steps and you should stay out of trouble. One additional bit of advice….keep the visit short as in 48 hours or less. 

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