5 Tips for Being a Thanksgiving Date

That moment when you show up to your date's house for Thanksgiving and they already have their Christmas decorations up.
That moment when you show up to your date's house for Thanksgiving and they already have their Christmas decorations up.
Elliott P. / Flickr

So you're going to your significant other's family Thanksgiving gathering. It either will be a great way to get to know your partner better, or it could be an absolute nightmare.

While some of that depends on the situation you're headed to, a lot of your enjoyment of the evening (and possibly the future of your relationship) depends on how you handle the potentially uncomfortable situation.

Family gatherings like Thanksgiving can be a make-or-break moment for relationships. So here's a quick rundown of dos and don'ts to give you some guidance that will (hopefully) save you from ruining your current love life over some turkey.

See also: 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Bring a Date to Thanksgiving

5. Don't compare it to your family's Thanksgiving.

Whether you love your family's take on the holiday or hate it, it's going to be what you're used to. Maybe your family makes their turkey a certain way, and maybe your date's family eats in the afternoon so they can get to the stores for Black Friday in the evening. Regardless, it isn't fair to either family to compare the two (at least not out loud). Just like you shouldn't tell your current date how he/she compares to previous partners, it's best to just enjoy both versions of Thanksgiving rather than square them off against each other.

4. Do wear something conservative.

It doesn't matter who you are or what your partner's family is like, it's always better to play it safe when you might be meeting new family members. You don't have to put on your church clothes, but it's best not to wear anything that could be considered even mildly scandalous or controversial. If you don't know how dressed up to get, it's generally better to be a little too formal than end up being the only person there in shorts.

3. Don't say anything you wouldn't want your date telling your entire family.

You might be trying to come off as charming or witty, but one of the most common mistakes you could make would be telling your date's family something that he or she didn't want all of them knowing. Something that you might think is relatively innocent and funny (i.e. an embarrassing drunk story) might not go over so well with your date's grandparents or teetotaling uncle. Also, you never know who has a big mouth, so expect everyone at the dinner table to know everything you said that evening.

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2. Do take part in whatever traditions they have.

Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. You may think your date's family's traditions are stupid, but it probably means something to them. If you're going to be in their house for dinner, the least you can do is play by their rules and indulge in their traditions (within reason). Maybe you'll even end up liking one or two of them.

1. Do bring something everyone can share.

Whether you're bringing food, drinks, plates, entertainment, or anything else, make sure it's something that everyone (or at least a large number of people) can enjoy. So instead of bringing a board game for four people, bring a card game that a bigger group can play. If you don't know what to bring, extra desserts and napkins are typically safe ways to go.

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