With the holidays coming up, this might be the first family gathering your significant other will attend. Drunk grandpas, loud aunts, and unfiltered kids you have no idea what’s going to come out of their mouth next or what crazy thing they might do under the watch of a fresh pair of eyes. Will your significant other feel awkward and come off cold and distant? Will their vibrant personality rub some cousins the wrong way?

There are pros and cons of having a significant other meet family during a large gathering. Parties usually have various small groups or couples chatting together throughout the area which can help keep your SO from feeling too overwhelmed and you might be able to dodge any troublesome relatives. Even with a large group, the attention might not be all on your SO since parties are always a good time for people to catch up with others they haven’t seen in a while and others outside the family could be invited as well.

Of course, you are still throwing your SO into a sea of strangers with loud chatter and music. A smaller gathering of just immediate family or a quiet dinner might be less stressful on the senses for your SO. There won’t be tons of faces and names to remember, family relationship links to keep track of, nor an endless string of stories to listen to with characters you don’t know.

Either way it’s important to talk to your partner and see what they’re comfortable with and how you’ll best be able to management the stress of a new dynamic. Just remember, no matter how embarrassing or overbearing your family might be, everyone is nervous. It’s totally normal to be nervous and probably won’t end up being as bad as you think.

And if it is, well at least there’s no where to go but up from here!