Whether your relationship is fresh or going on several years, mingling with your girlfriend's family can be an uncomfortable and awkward experience. While there is no guarantee that you will feel comfortable and at ease in their presence, there are steps you can take to get to know your girlfriend's family.
Learn from Afar
There can be a lull in the conversation, and awkward silences can form while you try to figure out how to bond with members of her family. Instead, you may consider asking your girlfriend ahead of time about their interests, hobbies and history. Do you and her parents share a love of sports? Does her brother enjoy traveling? You also can ask that she mention some of your interests and hobbies to them ahead of time. When trying to be comfortable around her family, you may want to avoid discussing any hot-button issues, such as politics.
Spend Time Together
Increasing the amount of time you spend with your girlfriend's family may help you get to know them better and feel more comfortable around them over time. Preparing for these meetings also can make the difference. Partaking in a shared activity together, such as playing a board game or taking on a round of miniature golf, may help you have fun and relax around her family. Keeping your girlfriend nearby during these outings also can keep you from feeling uncomfortable.
Kindness Goes a Long Way
Practice what you might say to her family members ahead of time. Making the effort to extend kindness to them, such as bringing dessert when you are invited to dinner or thanking them for their generosity, may make them respond to you more positively and help you feel more comfortable around them. A genuine compliment is also rarely turned down. If you have something nice to say, let her family know.
No matter how much effort you put into trying to feel more comfortable with her family, there always may be a degree of discomfort. You also may feel uncomfortable if her family has a habit of asking personal or controversial questions, such as your intentions for the relationship. Asking your girlfriend to help you out in these situations ahead of time or explaining that you and your girlfriend are still talking may be enough to discourage further questions.
Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.