DEAR HARRIETTE: This Christmas, I will meet my boyfriend’s family. They live out of state and this is the first time we’ve met face to face.
We’ve been dating for almost a year now and I really like him, so I’m looking forward to getting to know his family and seeing how he’s grown. I want to make a good impression, but I’m a little nervous.
Do you have any advice or tips for having a positive impact and managing this first meeting with your family?
– Meet the parents
DEAR MEET THE PARENTS: Learn as much as you can about your boyfriend’s parents and upbringing before you go.
Find out their interests and hobbies. Ask specific questions to learn about family traditions, fashion preferences, favorite foods, extracurricular activities, and favorite genres of entertainment. Then select a gift for each of them that represents who they are. For example, if her mother reads mystery novels, bring her a new mystery that made the New York Times bestseller list. If his dad likes bourbon, buy him an unusual bottle that shows you took care in selecting it for him. You got the idea!
Be yourself when sharing things about your life and your family. Don’t try to fit into their image. At the same time, honor them by paying attention to them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: In my younger years, I was fortunate to have several mentors who provided me with invaluable advice, but I did not always fully appreciate or follow their advice. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize the importance of their wisdom and the importance of networking.
How can I effectively reconnect with these mentors after a significant interruption, acknowledging the past while seeking to reestablish a meaningful connection for mutual growth and learning?
DEAR RECONNECTION: As you prepare to contact these past mentors, recount in your mind what you learned from them. Be as specific as possible and take notes about your memories.
Then, look at the decisions and choices you’ve made in your life that reflect the wisdom you’ve gained from them. Find examples, if possible.
With this information, contact your mentors individually. Start with a thoughtful handwritten note that you send to them in the mail. This will show your efforts. You can also enter it if your handwriting is bad.
Express gratitude for their impact on your life years ago. Give one or two examples of how you have implemented their advice in your life. Apologize for so much time since your last communication. Ask if you can schedule a time to talk or meet in the near future.
If they don’t respond immediately, don’t give up. Staying in touch. You can switch to email and provide updates on things you’re doing. You can also praise them for anything you learn about their lives from public sources. Share articles or other points of interest with them, with a note saying you think they would enjoy the topic.
Staying in touch. Eventually, they should contact you.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyle stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative aimed at helping people access and achieve their dreams. You can send questions to Askharriette@harriettecole.com or to Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.