I’m fairly new to The Bachelor and Bachelorette watching game, and while I think there are a lot of ridiculous things about this franchise, I’m also fine with admitting that I’m totally hooked. This past season we watched as JoJo and Lauren dusted off their best rompers to try to charm Bachelor Ben’s family during the “hometown dates” portion of the show. While I know The Bachelor is fairly far removed from what real life dating is like, there are also some elements of hometown dates that can be useful if you’re getting ready to meet your significant other’s family. We talk about this on this week’s episode of my podcast The Margarita Confessionals, but here are a few things we can learn from the hometown date experience:
Pick your outfit properly: You don’t need to dress like you’re in Little House on the Prairie, but maybe a blazer or something is a good idea. Unless you’re JoJo and then you can do no wrong just wear whatever.
Go with the flow: Families are unique and quirky and complex. Everyone has their own traditions, some of which may make no sense to you. Do your best to go with the flow. You don’t want to be the significant other who’s like, “Um, what? No..” If everyone is playing bocce ball and is very invested in the game, try it out. If you’re not totally comfortable participating (for example they’re praying and you’re a different religion and have no clue what’s happening) just sit quietly, be respectful, and let them do their thing.
Don’t go PDA crazy: I don’t care how cool your significant other’s parents are, I can promise you they don’t want to watch you swap spit with their kid. That’s creepy. Sitting close to each other on the couch is fine, but respect bae’s family and keep your hands home.
Learn their comfort levels: Your parents may not care if you share a room when you two visit them, but if his aren’t okay with it, respect that. Every family has their own set of ground rules.
Know that what’s normal for your family may not be someone else’s standard operating procedure: My extended family enjoys getting together, but we typically only do this for major life events. It’s sad and we’re working on spending more time together, which is amazing, but that’s just how we are as a group right now. When I first started dating my ex, I couldn’t understand why his extended family spent so much time together. Why are you all getting together for someone’s retirement party!? Unless you’re getting married or obtaining a diploma, it’s normally not an “all hands on deck” event for our entire extended family, so casual hangouts were weird to me. Now that I’m not 22 and immature, I realize that there really is no such thing as normal when it comes to how extended families interact. You may never see yours and that’s (maybe) sad but okay, or you may see yours every weekend and that’s totally cool too.
Just be you: It can feel like you have to be this picture perfect homecoming queen version of yourself in order to get Aunt Ginny and Grandma Mimi to like you. Watch your language, sure, but also be yourself. There’s a reason you got an invitation to meet them in the first place.
How have you navigated meeting your significant other’s family? Let me know in the comments!