Tips For Integrating With Family Or Friends

I Ask to see photos of all the key players before you meet them. I Find out who the alphas are in the group. Who is the lead relative or who is the pack leader among the friends? They're the only ones you really need to impress

I Never take a gift on first meeting. It will look as though you're trying to buy your way in Or get your partner to give the gift instead I Dress marginally more formally than the group you're meeting.

It shows respect

I Use limited ingratiation or submission signals . When you first walk in keep an upright posture, but apply a really winning smile (see the smile advice in chapter 7).

I Perform a very small "bow" when you greet each person. This is symbolic bowing rather than the formal type and will involve dropping your torso slightly or dipping your head very subtly (see chapter 8). I Allow yourself to display a maximum of two signs of nerves or shyness This will signal respect I Use good eye contact . It will be your best intentional gesture, looking as though you're keen to get to know each person I Play "Follow My Leader . " Never push the group behavior during the first few meetings . If they look miserable, keep it like that; don't try to get them laughing by telling your worst jokes . If they seem prudish or formal, don't swear or make risqué comments . If they're lighthearted, don't start fishing for more in-depth conversations. You're the interloper and as such you should never seek to change the dynamics Use mirroring and postural echo with the people you're trying to impress I Don't show off in an attempt to impress . I Keep affection and sex signals completely toned down. Just opt for the Look of Love—that is, face softening .

I Never flirt with an in-law. It might flatter the parent but your partner will be appalled, even if it's done in fun

I Never insult your partner. Not even if the others are teasing This is a rite of passage—they're flexing their ownership muscles to see how you respond If you join in, you'll display disloyalty However, if you stand up for your mate you could alienate the rest of the group Play it right down the middle Smile politely, face-check your partner to see how he or she is doing, and say nothing I Ditto when the baby pictures come out. This is a rite of passage with most people's parents Smile and say how cute he or she looks Throw a wink at your partner when no one else is looking I Never whisper to your partner or do eye tie-signs in front of friends and family. This signals a private conversation and will imply you're trying to take him or her away from them

As you leave from your first meeting, you need to hope that your exit salutations are less formal than those you did on arrival This is where you'll be hoping for a hug or extra arm-squeeze that lets you know you've been accepted . Even if you get them, though, take nothing for granted Friends and family could just be performing these in a bid to impress their offspring or friend They might know you're possibly in for the long haul and that if they declare war at this stage they'll look mean-spirited. If your in-laws seem especially poisonous, you should also remember that the more fulsome their hugs and signals of affection the more they're going to talking badly about you once you're gone

Although it should be natural for a person to want to mate with someone who will integrate into their own family unit, you could find out that you're dating a "Mommy-shocker" rather than a "Mommy-pleaser. " This will mean that your character and appearance have appealed to your partner for the very reason that their parents won't approve . Sometimes you'll have no warning of this and be blissfully unaware until you meet the parents, at which point you'll be amazed to discover they're not also goths or hippies and have no great liking for recreational drugs If this happens, there is probably very little point in trying to integrate with them as that's not what you're there for . You've been selected as a tool of revenge for all those humiliations your partner had growing up, and it's up to you if you want to be used in this way or if you'd rather take yourself off to a relationship that is less Oedipal

Continue reading here: How To Do Weddings And Parties

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