Should you bring your date home to meet the family for Thanksgiving? 5 ways to know

OPINION: Deciding if it's time to bring your partner home for the holidays can sometimes be nerve-wracking; here are some absolutely serious ways to help you decide.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

It’s the holiday season, and that means folks are traversing the country in search of fine eats, family time or (hopefully) tasty plates from other folks’ families who let you crash. As a quick aside, if you know your family isn’t the best of cooks, please humble yourself and don’t post pictures of tragic plates with arrogant captions before the extremely active wing of Black Twitter looking to get their rocks off does that work for you. Mmkay, pumpkin? Team sweet potato pie. 

Either way, what the holiday seasons also bring to bear is where you might be standing in your relationship. Let’s say you’ve been dating for some months now and things are going well, but you aren’t quite sure if it’s like, “let’s do the holidays together” or if it’s like, “we’ll do Thanksgiving separately and see where we are for Christmas” — two very legitimate places to be, mind you. Relationships can be a lot of work, what with the couple challenges on TikTok, joint failures on Nike’s SNKRS app and spirited debates about the state of Black America through the lenses of the Kyrie Irving and Kanye West “situations.” But if you’re even having this internal debate, that’s a good sign; you’re basically just looking for the confirmation that you should — you’re waiting for a sign of some sort. 

Luckily, I’m right here to help you out. While it’s been a long time since I’ve had to decide whether or not I was bringing somebody home with me for the holidays (or whether or not I was going home with somebody), I have walked a mile in those shoes. So here are a few ways to help you figure it out so that you can be confident that you’re making the right decision. For the sake of positivity and joy, I will mostly focus on reasons to know that you should bring them home with you. Mostly. Shall we? 

1. They hit for the Air Jordan 1 “Lost & Found” on the SNKRs app or a raffle for you…you should bring them home. 

Listen, you almost have to bring them home just to stunt on everybody else. If you have even a remote interest in shoes, you probably wanted this slight remix of the most classic colorway in sneakerhead history. Everybody was trying to get these joints — myself included — so if they did (for you) and you manage to even have them in hand already, you almost owe them that much. It should even be a sincere request, and they’ve earned a few extra months of evaluation time through the middle of January. They have not, I repeat, have not earned Valentine’s Day…yet.

2. If you know you’ll just spend the entire time you’re apart on FaceTime (iPhone gang) with one another then perhaps that means you should be together for the holidays.

Listen, nobody, and I do mean nobody, is more insufferable than a couple in so much love that they must sit on the phone with one another while they’re apart. If you’ll just spend the entire break FaceTiming them into family game night and/or dinner, you might as well bring them along because that’s what you both really want. Plus, you know what’s gonna happen? You’ll just end up having a convo about how much you wish they were there. Get ahead of that, homie. 

3. If they have a killer dish that they make that you know will impress everybody at home, bring them along.

Maybe one of the more superficial reasons to bring somebody home for the holidays, but listen, holidays are for stunting. Periodt. You can be all about family and still stunt, and bringing somebody who can hop up in the kitchen always looks amazing in the eyes of family. Now, just make sure their special dish isn’t one of the signature family dishes. You do not need them going in the kitchen pissing everybody off by trying to big league the mac-n-cheese. 

4. Are you tired of hearing about your love life from your family? Bring along that boo just to shush the folks. 

Look, there’s an entire cottage industry of movies built on this premise; might as well put your life in that number. It’s OK. Plus, if it doesn’t work, breakups happen all the time. As Kurtis Blow so eloquently put it, these are the breaks. But for a few days, you can schmooze on a person in front of your parents who won’t stop asking for grandbabies. 

5. You’re clearly in it to win it in this relationship and meeting the families is the next step. Thanksgiving might as well be the right time.

There are many steps in relationships that check off boxes we all swear we don’t have, and typically, family approval is one of those boxes. If you think that you’re in it to win it then you might as well rip off that meet-the-family Band-Aid and see how it goes. I used to love meeting folks’ families; it tells you so much more about the person you’re dating, both good and bad. Now, if they go in there and charm everybody to death, and then you all break up, you’re going to have to hear about them for the rest of your life, AND your new boos will be compared to them forever. Just a heads-up. Unless your next one is the right one and as charming. Just keep that in mind.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on theGrio’s app; download it here.

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