By Emma Purce and Daniel Braverman
By Emma Purce
Q: How do I get my significant other’s family to like me?
A: As someone who has never been in a relationship and has already planned out her future cats’ names — two of which will be Sir Whiskers III (we don’t talk about what happened to Sir Whiskers and Sir Whiskers II) and Bartholomeow — I feel that I am more than qualified to answer this question.
The first thing you need to do is some sleuthing. You need to look into and memorize the family’s entire history, because they will quiz you on it. You have to know every great-aunt’s name, as well as their pets’ names and lineage.
After having memorized their family history going back at least 200 years, you have to prepare gifts for the family. DO NOT GET FLOWERS! No one likes flowers. Instead, be creative and unique. Try purchasing some lettuce for their mother. Lettuce not only has the physical appeal of flowers, but it can also be used to make a nice side salad for dinner! You’ll win her over by giving her a gift that will help her feed her family.
While some people think you don’t have to get your significant other’s father a gift, I would suggest doing so. A nice pair of high white socks to go with his favorite pair of sandals will win you a good number of brownie points.
If you’re scared that your boyfriend or girlfriend’s family won’t like you because of your personality or appearance, there’s a simple solution for you: just change everything about yourself. Ask them for some advice, and go through the necessary changes. For example, if their family, for some strange and unexplainable reason, has some type of prejudice against your natural hair color, all you need to do is dye it. Simple as that!
If you are nervous that your personality can be grating or you can come off as someone that they may not like, you just need to act like someone new while you’re around them.
If their family doesn’t like your outfits, you need to throw out all of your clothes and buy a whole new wardrobe. It may be tiring, but it will be worth it once their family loves you for your completely fake personality.
Seriously though, you don’t really need to do any of these things in order to get your significant other’s family to like you. While you may not like the advice I have to give, I have found from my personal experience with my own family that your beloved’s family doesn’t want to meet a fake you. If you want to bring a gift, I would encourage it. Don’t get anything grand or expensive, simple flowers really are the way to go if you don’t know of anything else you can bring. While you don’t have to bring gifts in order for your future spouse’s family to like you, it probably won’t hurt.
My overall advice for you is to just be yourself. I know that this advice seems extremely cliché and overused, but it really is the best advice to give. As long as you present yourself in a way that is accurate to you as a person, you have your best chance for your better half’s family to like you. And I’m sorry to say, if they decide that they don’t like you, there really is nothing you can do to change their minds. Short of changing yourself beyond recognition, you won’t be able to earn their approval, and that’s okay.
You’re young; this relationship is insignificant in the big picture of your life. Don’t change yourself for anyone, especially not your significant other’s family. It really isn’t worth it.
By Daniel Braverman
Q: How do I get my significant other’s family to like me?
A: Great question, keen and attentive reader! Thank you for coming to the “expert” advice columnist who knows the right thing to do in any scenario, as long as it’s the scenario I’m asked to give advice on.
This issue is no different. Many people value spending time with a significant other, but this can often be tough to do when their family is in the way. The problem shouldn’t be getting the family to like you, but rather getting them to not dislike you. It’s almost the same thing except the latter is much easier to achieve.
Just remember the acronym A.A.A. and you’re bound to be on the good side of your significant other’s family.
The first A stands for avoid. The second A stands for avoid. And the third A stands for, you guessed it, avoid. There’s no need to listen to clichéd advice like, “Just be yourself,” or “Don’t obsess over it.” That stuff is clichéd for a reason: it doesn’t work.
What if you behave like yourself and their family just doesn’t like you? Nothing you can control about that, and once they’ve made up their minds, it’s tough to get back in their good graces. However, if you can avoid their family, do it. If they don’t know anything about you, it’s going to be really tough for them to dislike you. It’s almost impossible.
The first key step that is always great when following the three A’s is to examine your significant other’s place of residence. Learn about the ventilation. Ask yourself, would I be able to hide in there? If so, could I move around? Additionally, talk to your significant other about the games he/she played when your better half was younger, and lead the conversation to hide and seek. Figure out what hiding spots they hid in and which ones were most effective. Use this to your advantage when it comes to avoiding.
These are the little details that will help you avoid the family and therefore avoid them disliking you. Obviously, you’re not going to be able to avoid your boyfriend or girlfriend’s family for a long period of time, so when conversing with them just make sure to avoid talking about yourself too much.
Considering you reached out to the Pebble with your issue, I’m sure you’re a great person who is very interesting. The second A, however, is to avoid bragging. No one wants to hear on and on about one person and all their achievements. Try to stay as humble as possible. That way, at the very least, their family will be able to tolerate you. Without tolerating you, there is no way a family would like you. It’s just not possible.
The last A within the triple-A system is the one most often overlooked. Even though it doesn’t come up much, avoid injuring your significant other’s family. No one likes the person who accidentally closed the car door on their finger or the person who put jalapeños in a sandwich instead of cucumbers without even realizing. Avoid, at all costs, being that person.
If you remember and follow the three A’s, the love of your life’s family will not dislike you, and over time they will, in fact, begin to like you and look favorably upon you. Baby steps are the key, so just remember to keep avoiding and stay patient. While the first A may not be the most practical, the second and third ones are, so keep those in mind whenever you may be trying to get someone’s family to like you.