Sometimes, when Im drinking by myself at the bar, Ill gaze at those laid back girlswith their bohemian beach wavescasually cascading down their sun-kissed backs, meeting their boyfriends family for the first time and Im sick with jealousy.
I just want to be a non-anxious girl who doesnt wear makeup,authentically enjoys yoga, rolls out of bed and throws on a braless, side-boob dress and puts the frenetic energy of a New York City subway gorgeously at ease with my magnetic, carefree swagger.
But, no. Im actually an acutely raven-haired, snow-white, pale-skinned, hyperactive mascara lesbian, all big anxious eyes, caffeine-shaky lips and nerves.
My leg is inexplicably shaking as a write this. Is something ANXIOUS about to happen?
Nah, girl. Its a boring Tuesday in lower Manhattan. Im just feeling things because I dont know how to not feel things.
But I adore love. People who suffer from anxiety and depression tend to fiercelylove because were glutenous in the feels department, like out of control chocolate addicts who just cant help but devour a box of Godiva in one sitting.
We recklessly dive into the emotional pools, whether its the anxiety pool, the depressed pool or the love pool.
Two anxious/depressed entities swimming in the love pool is a powerful force of nature (not necessarily a healthy force of nature,but theyre still a forceto be reckoned with).
Social anxiety is the worst when youre dating someone new. Because, all of a sudden, youre forced to ~socialize~ with their people.
Its probably really good for us to crawl out from under the covers and mingle with fresh personalities, but damn, is it harrowing.
But ya know, kittens, if we want love so bad, were going to have figure out a way to deal with our social anxiety.
So today, together, like two long lost, anxious sisters, were going to navigate the dark and stormy waters of dating with social anxiety.
Last week, we talked about dealing with meeting your significant others friends with social anxiety. And this week, were going to talk about the collectively feared meeting of the family.
Iknow this one is tough. Because the thing is, when you love someone something fierce, you want to be close their family. You want to be loved, accepted and celebrated by them.
But how the hell do you get there when youre feeling irrepressibly shy?
Now that Im a smug 30-year-old, I can tell you Ive learned a thing or two in my time here on this cruel, cold planet earth. At this point, Ive become such a ferocious expert in charming a significant others family, I can do it with the grace and ease of a ballerina.
So, if the leg-shaking, former over-drinker due to her extreme shyness, bug-eyed, noticeably quiet girl has learned to deal with meeting the SOs fam, so can you.
1. Be more polite than the Queen of England.
Its OKto be a little shy. But the trouble with being shy is this: Shy can sometimes be misinterpreted as bitchy.
Iknow thats not the case, and you know thats not the case. But does baes family know thats not the case?
Unless they have a mastersin psychology, no. They dont. So you need to be over-the-top polite.
Make sure you look everyone you meet in the eye, smile and firmly shake their hands. Say sweet, polite, sugary things like, So LOVELY to meet you!
People can handle quiet, as long as youre a polite quiet.Channel your inner Kate Middleton, and act like a god damn royal.
It will distract everyone from your palpable anxiety. And if they do notice your trembling hands, theyll know its because youre nervous fromtrying to impressthem.
And theyll be inclined to love back anyone who loves their gorgeous, perfect child.
2. Take the piece of cake, no matter what allergies you have.
I dont care if youre on the Atkins Diet. I dont give a shit about your gluten allergy. I dont care if youre going to go into paralytic shock from all of the sugar youre eating.
If youre offered a piece of cake, take it. If youre worried youre going to shut down or come across as rude, the best way to put a buffer between your lack of conversation participation is to take the fucking cake when its offered, eat it and gush about how ~amazing~ it is.
You have ONE chance to make a good impression, you hear me? Dont blow it by being a bitch about the food.
Eat the cake today, and save thediet for every other boring day of your life.
Whats a night of irritable bowels over family acceptance for life?
3. Ask them questions about their lives.
OK,so you dont know what the hell to say. Youre tongue-tied, your mouth is dry, your fingers are shaking, you really want a cigarette (even if you dont smoke) and you just want to crawl into a hole and hide.
Take a deep breath right now. Channel your inner California babe.
Ill visualize myself as some sort of calm, hippie, wild-haired Cali girl with golden sand sprinkled across my bare feet and Ill breathe like a real yogi. It helps.
After youve done your visualization and have calmed down a bit, ask their family questions about themselves. Ask them where theyre from, what they do for work, what theyre passionate about and how they made that cake so mouthwatering.
Trust me, everyone loves to talk about themselves. Were all vain, and were all a bit self-obsessed. Let the human condition work to your advantage.
4. Offer to help clean up.
If youre shy, your in with the fam is being of service. Dont bitch about this one, girls. No one is more useless than yours truly.
I dont even know how to load a dishwasher correctly. I dont know how to roast a chicken. I dont know how to iron my linen dresses.
But you know what? When I meet baes family, I channel my inner domestic goddess and I help clean up like Im a god damn professional.
It gets you out of conversation, but still makes you seem amazing, engaged and helpful.
So, stop worrying about your broken nail, and get down and dirty with those dishes, babe! Chipped nail polish today, manis and xanis tomorrow.
5. Have a glass of wine, for Christs sake.
Now is not the time to be a prim bitch. Have a glass of wine (just one, two max) and let your hair down a bit.
It will socially lubricate you so youre not a stiff Stepford wife from Greenwich, Connecticut when you arrive on the family frontier for the first time.
Dont have more than two, or else that booze will quickly turn on you. An anxiety-ridden drunk is weird. Its uncomfortable.
But an anxiety-ridden buzz is totally fine!
Have a personality drink, follow steps one through four and youll be good to go, I swear to goddess.
Well deal with using drinking as a crutch later this week. But today, youve just got to get through meeting THE FAM.