Pillow Talk: Thanksgiving with your significant other
If you’re feeling like Thanksgiving really crept up on you this year, you’re not the only one.
Thanksgiving comes at the most needed yet most inconvenient time of the semester, but there’s an unspoken consensus that for the entire holiday weekend, the impending anxiety of finals will be ignored in favor of an all-out assault on home-cooked food. By the time we resurface the following Monday, the five pounds we’ve gained will be the least of our problems, as it’s full speed ahead until every test, paper and project is crossed off the to-do list for good.
Now that I’ve validated any fleeting feelings of stress you’re having as you transition to vacation mode, take solace in the fact that while Thanksgiving is the equivalent of academic quicksand, it can do some serious favors for your relationship.
Significant others occupy that weird gray area between friends and family, and bringing them home with you for the holidays is the perfect opportunity to see them in the context of the latter. If you’ve been dating for several months and are looking to take the next step, meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend’s family, or welcoming them into yours, is one of the most genuine gestures you can make to see if you’re in it for the long haul.
If you’re the guest:
Make good use of travel time to learn the names and a little bit of background of who you’ll be meeting during the week, which will make you feel much more at ease once you’re standing on their doorstep. It’s likely each of them played their own vital role in making your significant other the person they are today, so making an effort to get to know them personally immediately sets you apart from anyone else they’ve brought home in the past.
Nine times out of 10, humor is the best thing to fall back on when the conversation heads in your direction: when my uncles collectively decided to dismiss my boyfriend’s name completely in favor of more…colorful choices beginning in the same letter (“Clifford”? Really?), he laughed it off instead of feeling mocked, and immediately earned their respect. Granted, my family is easily impressed, but whether you’re making jokes or paying your dues as the target of them, laughter and likability have a pretty direct correlation.
If you’re the host:
It may not be your first time around, but when the fate of someone’s Thanksgiving is in your hands, turkey isn’t the only thing in the pressure cooker. Even if you play a minor or nonexistent role in preparing dinner, touch base with your boyfriend or girlfriend to see if they have any special dishes or family traditions they’d like to see on the table. Focusing on that aspect of the meal and preparing it together will put both of your cooking skills on display while making them instantly feel at home.
And when the time comes to hash out sleeping arrangements, don’t argue the separate bedrooms rule in front of your family: your grandparents’ ears work better than you think, and you just shattered any conception of innocence they were still clinging to. If you respect your family’s input, they’re that much more likely to respect the company you keep long after that first meeting.
By bringing your boyfriend or girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, you’re testing a lot more than your stomach’s carrying capacity. But if you couldn’t imagine spending the holidays without them, then follow those feelings: you might have many more holidays to look forward to together.