Things are going really well with your new-ish bae. You have a lot in common, and the conversation never gets boring. You share a sense of humor and you’ve found yourself laughing ’til it hurts plenty of times since you got together. The attraction is there too — you still get butterflies every time you see your special someone. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but it doesn’t seem out of the question that this relationship could be moving in a serious direction. Hooray!

It’s time to start considering an important milestone: introducing your significant other to your family. Even if you aren’t super close to your fam, it’s still a big deal to bring a new love interest to meet them. After all, if all goes well, they could be celebrating holidays and going on vacation together in the future.

Couple having coffee

Assuming you feel the time is right to make this intro, it’s important to be strategic about how you do it, and there’s one place in particular that you should try to avoid. When we reached out to a group of therapists and relationship experts for their advice on where not to connect your fam and your significant other, almost all of them said the same thing. It might seem counterintuitive at first, but you should avoid introducing them at an official family gathering — especially one that takes place during the holiday season.

“If you want to ruin your relationship with your new love interest, introduce them to your family during a holiday,” founder and chief relationship strategist of The Love Write Vanessa Perry warns. “Families automatically assume that if you’re introducing the person over a significant holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving or New Year’s that this is The One.”

Basically, if you try to bring bae home to meet the parents on a major holidays, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on the relationship. Your family members will ask lots of questions and establish expectations about where things are going between the two of you, and if you and your S.O. aren’t actually there yet IRL, it’s bound to get awkward real fast.

Grapevine Gossip relationship expert Holly Zink adds that this kind of family gathering can be complicated by the presence of so many members of your extended tribe. Your new partner should absolutely meet your closest family members — parents, siblings, maybe even grandparents — early on in the relationship, but to bring aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends into the mix at this stage could make the experience needlessly stressful and complex.

In an ideal world, says licensed marriage and family therapist Katie Ziskind, you should make the introduction at a neutral place — and a family home or party definitely don’t qualify! Instead, “start off by introducing your significant other to your family in a familiar restaurant to your significant other,” she tells us. “Meeting in a mutual place will help both family and significant other to feel accepted and welcome. If you and your significant other have met at this [place] many times before, it will feel natural and organic for them to meet your family there too.”

Happy introducing!

RELATED: Signs It’s Time to Invite Your S.O. Home for Thanksgiving 

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