How to Not Be Uncomfortable Around Your Girlfriend's Family

Make the most of family times together and relax during dinner with her parents.
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Whether you're hanging out at her house, having a Sunday night dinner or going on a trip with the whole gang, feeling comfortable around your girlfriend's family is a must. Even though feeling nervous around her family is completely normal, you don't have to stress or act uncomfortable when you're with them. If you can't stop sweating when it comes to spending time with her mom and dad, take a breath, relax and get to know them better.

1 Talk Yourself Up

Before you venture out on the next family outing or walk through her door for a holiday dinner, give yourself a mini pep-talk. As you're driving to her house, try talking yourself up. Positive self-talk can help you to relax and feel better about the situation at hand, according to psychologist Jamie Long in her article, "5 Quick Tips to Reduce Stress and Stop Anxiety," on the "Psychology Today" website. Tell yourself, "I will make it through this family dinner" or, "I will show her family what a great guy I am."

2 Stop the Stress

If you feel your muscles tense up every time her mom and dad walk into the room, try out a stress-releasing technique to combat that uncomfortable feeling. For example, breath deeply to slow down your fluttering heart or count to 10 as you inhale and exhale. Another option is to purposefully tighten your muscles and then release them. Start with the large muscles such as your thighs; tense them up and then release the stress as you relax.

3 Get to Know Each Other

Consider the possibility that your discomfort comes from the fact that you don't really know her parents, and they don't know you. This doesn't mean that you have to get super serious or discuss world politics. Start simple and talk about everyday life. For example, tell her parents about the new project that you're working on at your job or how well you did on your bio test. Don't forget to ask them questions as well. Ask her parents how their days were or how that weekend camping trip went.

4 Point of View

Understanding your girl's parents' point of view can help to ease any tensions and make communication between all of you easier. This tactic is particularly helpful when her family is making you feel uneasy or anxious. You may wonder why her dad is staring at you so intently or why her mom is asking you a constant stream of questions that doesn't seem to ever let up. It's most likely because they want to protect their little girl. Take a look at the situation from their point of view and reassure them that you care about their daughter. Doing so can calm down everyone involved, including you.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.