Not winning the approval of your boyfriend’s family can be daunting. It makes social situations super awkward and makes you wonder whether they’re going to eventually turn your boyfriend against you. Hats off to you, because this is no easy situation to be in! There are a few things you can do to help you cope, though. Whether his family is still getting to know you or they really don’t like you, here’s what you can do.
- Give it time. It’s common for a family to take a while to warm up to a new girlfriend. Especially if you’re dating the golden child, you might find that the family is super frosty in the beginning. Try not to freak out right away. It could just be that they need time to get used to you. You might also find that the family is especially guarded if your boyfriend has been hurt in the past. It could be that they’re defensive and protective of him, and just don’t want to see him get hurt again.
- Be yourself. As clichéd as it sounds, the best thing you can do when you suspect that people don’t like you is continue to be yourself. It might be tempting to play a part that you think will impress them, but phoniness is easy to see through. And it will only cause further distrust. Instead, show them the parts of you that other people love. They might come around once they see the real you.
- Resist the need to look perfect. Of course, it’s okay to want to impress your boyfriend’s family, especially if they don’t seem to like you. But resist the urge to look perfect. Don’t brag about all your achievements, don’t flaunt your expensive bag, and don’t name-drop your impressive contacts. Efforts to look good enough can often come across as arrogance, which tends to rub people up the wrong way even more so. Maintain self-confidence, but try not to be cocky.
- Make effort and show interest in them. People love to talk about themselves. One trick to get your boyfriend’s family to like you a little more is showing interest in them. Ask about their lives (without prying too far!) and show genuine interest in their answers. Also, make an effort to see them. If you don’t show up to three family events in a row because you’re busy, it will leave a bad taste in their mouth and ruin the chances of them coming around to you.
- If time and effort don’t work, keep your distance. Often, his family not liking you is a teething issue that will get better as they get to know and trust you. Sometimes, though, time and effort just don’t work. In that case, it’s not just frostiness because they don’t know you. If they’ve had plenty of time to get to know you and they still don’t approve, then change strategies and keep your distance. See them when you have to, but limit the amount of time you spend around them for the sake of your mental health.
- Open up to your boyfriend about your concerns. You should be able to open up to your boyfriend about your concerns. Not to complain about his family or give him an ultimatum, but to simply let him know how you’re feeling. Maybe he knows something you don’t know about why they don’t like you. Or maybe he can talk to them and gently find out what the issue is. Even if there’s nothing he can do, don’t keep him in the dark about your feelings. You’re a team, even when it gets tough.
- Reject unacceptable behavior. People are allowed to not like you. But at a certain point, behavior becomes unacceptable. If you are bullied, harassed, abused, or constantly attacked by his family and it’s causing you significant stress or harm, it’s okay to decide that you’re not going to see them at all. This might cause a strain on you and your boyfriend, but your wellbeing should always come first. You don’t have to put up with having your physical, mental, or emotional health jeopardized.
- Watch how your boyfriend reacts. It’s not fair to ask your boyfriend to choose between you and his family. Don’t give him an ultimatum, but do pay attention to how he reacts to his family’s treatment of you. If he’s supportive, talks to them about it, and is okay with you distancing yourself for your mental health, that’s a good sign. On the other hand, if he refuses to support you, blames you, or seems brainwashed by them, it might be time to rethink the relationship. Trust that it’ll be a very long life in a relationship with someone who never takes your side.