How to make the first "in-law" get-together as pleasant as possible?
December 4, 2013 3:44 PM Subscribe
My fiance's parents are finally meeting my parents and I am vaguely sick with anticipatory worry.
posted by lovableiago to Human Relations (15 answers total)
Bear with me, this first part is slightly convoluted: My fiance's dad and stepmom are coming from out of state in a few weeks to visit. Since fiance and I got engaged earlier this year and have finally set a wedding date, both families agreed that this would probably be a good time for the parents to meet. My mom and stepdad agreed to host, since they live here in town. It then occurred to fiance and me that my parents and his OTHER set of parents (his mom and stepdad, who also live here in town) have really not spent anytime together other than a passing "hi-nice-to-meetcha-bye" when he and I moved in together a couple of years ago. There is, ostensibly, no bad blood between his two sets of parents and everyone involved seemed to be OK with getting all three sets of parents together. We also invited fiance's sister and her husband (close in age to us) because they are cool and it would feel weird not having them there (since they have not met my parents either and I really like them).
I am finding myself unreasonably nervous about all this. Everyone involved is wonderful and they are all thrilled about this impending union, so there's that. But they really don't have much in common. Personalities are different (I think), senses of humor are different (I think); there may be one or two hobbies in common. (They also have pretty different political views--his parents: think "Obama bumper sticker"; my parents: think "THANKS OBAMA"--but I am trusting everyone to have the prudence to not even touch on anything inflammatory.) Even though in a way it feels like my worlds are colliding, I actually am secretly excited about bringing those close to us together, and maybe because of that I am just worried it will be the most painfully awkward thing ever. My parents are both quite introverted and I think I am partly nervous on their behalf (though I am probably not giving anyone enough credit). Is there anything I can do in my position to make this a fun, positive experience for everyone? I am so the person that always feels responsible for everyone else's feelings and well-being--for what it's worth, a big reason this scenario is so frighteningly foreign to me is that I never attempt to bring my friends who don't know each other together because my anxiety about making sure everyone is happy and likes each other is so intense that it's not even worth it.
That said, I have clearly already put the onus on myself to steer this ship. So: What can we talk about? How can we get some good conversation going? What are good get-to-know-you facilitators in a situation like this--should we play games? Ideas for fun bonding activities are welcome, as are general tips for navigating this kind of situation, as are attitude adjustments, as are anecdotal horror stories with which I can comfort myself after the fact if it doesn't go as perfectly as I'm demanding it to.