How can I not shock and dismay my normal family?
June 24, 2007 4:14 PM Subscribe
While I love my family, I want to claim the other half of my heritage (my father’s side of the family) in an upcoming visit.
posted by Phalene to Human Relations (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hokay... This is an etiquette question as well as a vague cry for help.
The family I'll be visiting are evil suits, and while my maternal family is creatively unusual, my paternal side is Normal. Smart normal, with a geeky side, but we’re talking jocks and business school, with a wee bit more money then I’m used to.
In late July, I’m probably going to get to fly down to meet my biological father in California. I have a passport, and I think I can look non-threatening enough to pass through airport security, but I’m afraid of not passing the scrutiny of the people on the other side of the border due to my alternately highly sheltered and extremely liberal upbringing. I know that my father will love me for who I am (and does, we IM a lot) and I by no means want to misrepresent myself…
But with a background where improperly housebroken cats decorate the flooring; children don’t bicycle (but do know about family planning); and parents speak strongly against weddings and other social rituals, integrating with a family that sends me an annual Christmas newsletter; goes to Disneyland; and probably cleans up after unhousebroken pets within a week of the incident causes me a degree of anxiety.
I have a father to connect with, a stepmother to win over and two adorable half sisters I’d like to befriend. I’ll be staying at a hotel, but there’s likely to be both house visits and the dinner-out-and-sight-seeing that my research indicates is normal for visits.
After this, I’ll get to meet my grandparents, also evil suits and some of the warmest people I’ve ever met.
What on earth do I pack, how do I make small talk, how do I talk on the phone and how can I otherwise be charming, friendly and non-threatening, so I’ll be asked to visit again?
What can I read, watch, learn from wise Meta-users and otherwise desperately glean information from between now and the end of July to answer the above questions?
For background, I'm a 21 year old female.