Introducing Your Same Sex Partner to Your Parents
How to introduce your partner to your parents.
No matter what sexuality you might be, introducing your partner to your parents can be weird. You never know how it is going to turn out; it could be weird and awkward or it could all go off without a hitch. You have no idea how either party will react, and this fear of the unknown can make everyone involved a little bit nervous. And it can make it a little more nerve-wracking if your partner is the same gender as you, and if your parents are not as cool about things as you would like, the introductions can be a little bit intimidating. But there are ways to get through the introductions and make life just a little bit easier.
Talk to Them Both Beforehand
Brief both parties first and talk to them about what kind of a person/people they are and what they enjoy. Alternatively, if they have things they dislike in common, talk to them about that! It is a scientific fact that bonding over the dislike of something is more powerful than bonding over the admiration of something.
Keep the Introduction Short and Sweet
Don't arrange dinner as a way of introducing your parents to your partner; if things go wrong, this could make for a very awkward meal. Something like coffee or a drink works better for introducing people. It can be kept brief and there should be no awkward silence to fill because you won't be there long enough to make any.
Touch Your Partner
Innocently, of course. Some parents aren't cool about same sex relationships and don't see them as normal or valid. Innocently touching your partner on the shoulder or arm can help to establish you as a couple, and a normal one at that.
Talk About Normal Things
And leave out any inside jokes, as one party will feel left out if you talk to the other about things that not everyone understands. Try to find something that everyone involved can talk about. This will make both your parents and your partner feel included.
If things aren't going well, then be firm with whoever is causing the problems; let them know they are out of order. If it is necessary, then leave and talk to them about it later. Stand up for yourself and let them know that you aren't happy with them. This applies whether it was your parents or your partner who ruined the introductions. If they were deliberately rude then they need to know that it was uncalled for.
We all have opinions about things, and that's great, but a first time meeting between your partner and your parents is not the time to discuss your deep rooted beliefs, particularly if they are about hot button issues. Keep the conversation to the standard small talk like the weather and traffic. It might be boring, but boring is safe; nobody argues about the weather and everyone bonds over terrible traffic.
Try to Find Something They Have in Common
When I first met my mother- and father-in-law, it turned out I was living in the same place she used to live, and I drank in a pub she was once the manager of! It also turned out I was from the place my laws' football team consider their main rivals (that's still something we don't address). But my partner told both of them and me about it and it was something to point us in the right direction. As it happened, the mother-in-law and I started talking about psychiatric hospitals whilst my partner and her dad went to fix her car!
Introductions can be worrying, and they won't always be as smooth as you might like, but there are ways to make them a little bit easier so that nobody gets stressed out.