The season of family gatherings, dinners, and celebrations is fast approaching – and that means bringing our boyfriend to Thanksgiving dinner… but what if our family hates him?
There’s nothing like the holidays to bring everyone together, right? As we approach November, we start to plan out what the holidays will look like for us – and who we’ll bring along to the festivities our family has planned.
It’s only expected that we bring our boyfriend to the seemingly endless family dinners and celebrations this season holds. The image of him helping our dad carve the turkey comes to mind, or picking out the perfect present for our mom, or getting along famously with our adorable little niece. The holidays always bring out our sentimental, idealistic side – we want everything to be merry.
But sometimes, that’s not so easily attainable. Maybe we don’t have the best relationship with our family, or maybe… they really don’t like our boyfriend. So what’s the best plan of action if we find ourselves in this uncomfortable situation?
Hear Them Out First
Here’s the thing: they have their reasons for disliking him, even if they’re wrong, unfair, or stem from their own issues. There’s never no reason for their hostility, so it’s crucial that before we launch into a heated argument, we ask them why they aren’t so keen on our boyfriend.
There’s never no reason for their hostility, so it’s crucial we ask why they don’t like him first.
This allows them to feel like we want to understand where they’re coming from, making it more likely that they’ll relax their judgments. Letting them feel heard will make them willing to not only hear us out too but accept our differing views. It’s typically when we feel our opinions aren’t being respected or given merit that we dig our heels in even more.
Have an Honest Discussion
Uncomfortable situations call for open and honest communication. How else will we have any hope of solving the obstacles we face and get what we ultimately want: for everyone to get along?
After we’ve heard our family’s position, we can invite them into a discussion with us. We might let them know that while we value their thoughts, their evaluation is flawed, or even express what we love about our boyfriend and why he brings us happiness.
It’s a lot easier to love something or someone when a person we care deeply about loves it.
It’s a lot easier to love something or someone when a person we care deeply about loves it. When they see our face light up when we talk about him, they’ll want to love him too.
Emphasize Their Similarities
It’s only human to prefer what we know – that’s why we watch the same TV shows, eat the same meals, and go to the same clothing stores. Being familiar with something offers us not only a level of comfort, but also a positive context in which we know it.
Despite how well we know and love our boyfriend, our family won’t have the same attachment right off the bat. Proving to them that they have more similarities than differences is key in gaining their approval.
Maybe he likes the same baseball team as our dad, or he’s reminded of the cookies his mom used to make when he tastes our grandma’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or he also binged Breaking Bad, just like our brother. Once our family sees a way to bond with him, in a way that’s familiar to them, they’re more likely to see why we love him.
Draw Boundaries When Necessary
Maybe we’ve tried everything under the sun to get them to accept him, but unfortunately, without success. The hard truth is that we can’t control other people’s actions, or change their opinions if they don’t want them changed.
If our family, or a family member, refuses to accept our boyfriend, is consistently embarrassingly rude to him, and makes us and him uncomfortable despite our attempts to soften their hearts, it may be time to draw a boundary.
If we’re serious about our relationship, we don’t have to interact with anyone who disrespects it.
If we’re serious about our relationship, we don’t have to interact with anyone who disrespects it, and we also have to allow our family to make their own decisions and respect them – and if they’d rather lose their relationship with us than accept our boyfriend, that’s their choice. This is a difficult boundary to draw, but it’s sometimes necessary for our own well-being.
Families each have their own peculiarities. Some are incredibly welcoming and gregarious, and others… not as much. Getting our family to like our boyfriend isn’t always a linear path, but usually, they’ll end up changing their minds if we help them get there.
Love Evie? Let us know what you love and what else you want to see from us in the official Evie reader survey.