• When introducing romantic partners to family, many people prefer holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Relationship experts say that works, but to also consider more casual holidays like the Fourth of July or Labor Day.
  • Experts also say arriving early, having questions to ask family members, and offering to help can give you a leg up when meeting the family.

Dating can be stressful, especially once you find that special match and it comes time to introduce them to family.

Will they mesh? Will things get weird? Will it go sideways?

Experts say there are dos and don’ts when introducing your romantic partner to loved ones, especially during the holidays, including doing your research ahead of time, bringing a gift, and avoiding certain conversation topics.

And while it’s common to introduce family and romantic partners during gatherings like Christmas and Hanukkah, a first meeting might be best suited at a more casual time, like Labor Day or the Fourth of July, said Bree Jenkins, a marriage and family therapist from Los Angeles.

But it doesn’t end there. There are a few more tips to avoid having a real-life “Meet the Fockers” debacle. Check them out below.

‘What are we?’ Are we dating or just friends with benefits? Do I need to label my relationship?

Situationships: What is a situationship? And how to avoid being in one.

Prepare them for the awkward family member

Jenkins said successfully meeting the family is a team effort. 

“You want to set them up to win,” she said. “Set them up so they’re not blindsided. Let’s say you’re LGBTQ and you’ve got an uncle who comes around for Thanksgiving and he’s a little awkward … tell your partner so they can emotionally prepare themselves and won’t be blindsided by any uncomfortable dynamics.”

It’s the same if you’ve never brought a same-sex partner home, she said. It’s nice to give people a head’s up to make a “comfortable transition.”

Dave Schramm, family life professor and faculty member in the department of human development and family studies at Utah State University, suggests talking to your partner beforehand about names, what family members are into, whether they have kids, family traditions, careers, sports, and the like, he said.