Christmas Party Date - Going Public with Your New Relationship During the Holidays
Dear April Masini,
I need advice. The guy I have been dating has asked me to go with him to three different Christmas parties and as we get closer to the date, the more anxious I’m getting about it. Our relationship is relatively new and I'm nervous about going public as a couple during the holidays. Do you have any tips on how we can announce to friends and family members that we're in a relationship?"
Signed, Christmas Party Jitters
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Christmas Party Jitters:
Going out as a couple, in public, is always a significant relationship landmark. The reason that it can be nerve wracking is that you are going to be judged on him -- or vice verse. All of a sudden, his foibles that were cute and amusing when the two of you are out together, are driving you crazy in public because people are going to think you're a plebe if he eats with his hands, or that you're a loser if he trips and spills a drink.
Relax. Here are some tips to make your date at a party relaxing, and enjoyable.
Psyche yourself up:
You have your own identity separate from his. It may not feel like it because you're so tuned in to what other people think of him and him and you together. But you do. So relax. You are you no matter what.
If he turns out to be a total dud, you can dump him. No one will think worse of you for it -- and if they do, dump them, too! Life is a journey, and whom you date is just a part of a chapter in what will be a long book, if you're lucky.
Change the focus of the evening away from, "What will everyone think of him and us?" to "How can I have a great time tonight?
Dress code. Let him know in advance what the dress code for the party is. If you don't know, and you're not going to find out, then tell him what you're wearing, and suggest what he should wear. If he comes to pick you up and he's a total dork-saster, tell him he is sweet for thinking it's a hoe-down, but this is actually the Dom Perignon crowd, so let's stop back at his house and change. Keep the tone light, but say what you want, and let go of the fact that he dressed wrong. Keep in mind that he's willing to go home and change his clothes. Now, that's progress!
If he has bad manners, gently correct his manners before the party. Tell him that it's important to you that he have good manners, and that a man as handsome as he is looks even more stellar holding his utensils properly. Give him some positive reinforcement. Also, ask him if there may be anything he'd like you to do differently because you understand he may have some peeves also. Then be open to whatever he suggests.
If he dances like a Star Search reject, laugh it off. Not everyone is good at everything -- but don't give up! As a treat, enroll the two of you in a series of dance classes, and see if it helps at all.