Tips on How to Get Along with the Family in a Black and White Relationship
Dating someone of another race or ethnicity can be challenging—even if your family is accepting. Just because your parents or siblings are not “racist” doesn’t mean they understand proper etiquette. They may still exhibit behavior that is awkward and upsetting to you or your partner. However, by being conscious of the way people think, you may be able to minimize conflict and still enjoy a good interracial relationship—with positive family interaction.
- Be adaptable when it comes to family traditions.
A closed mind to family or ethnic traditions will only bring tension. You might be uncomfortable if the family prays together, holds hands, or observes some other kind of tradition, formal, religious or even casual. It may not seem “natural”, but if it will help ease tension and endear the family to your partner, why not be on board? It also helps tremendously if you try to learn a little bit of the family’s native language, if applicable.
- Always be positive – be in the mood you want the family to be in.
Go in with a smile, and be eager to bond with the father of the family, or mother of the family if you’re a woman. Remember if the family member is resisting you, don’t challenge them or back down. Treat them as a mentor figure and try to find a topic in common that you both have. Common ground is what will start a genuine conversation. Avoid disagreement and try to see their point of view. When you do find agreement, be passionate about the subject so that they mirror your enthusiasm…and start liking you!
- Be patient. Totally accepting someone into the family takes time.
If you want instant compatibility, you may be disappointed. Families may be cautious if they don’t know you or trust you. Over time, they will see that you or your partner’s intentions are noble. Mostly, they are worried about the happiness of their family member. The happier you make your partner, the more pleased the family will be with you, especially if you stick around for months and years.
- Let THEM know that you want to be part of the family.
If you’re the odd person out looking in, than you may be initially nervous about fitting into a new family. You may be so afraid that you unintentionally distance yourself; for example, avoiding gatherings, avoiding conversations and so on. The opposite is needed: you should let them know that you enjoy being part of the family dynamic and you do want to fit in. Learn everyone’s name and make yourself available for family gatherings. Sooner or later (and probably sooner) they will appreciate how much effort you’re contributing to fit in.
Remember that the interracial dating secret to fitting in to a new family (or any group, really) is to not “ingratiate” yourself (which is the act of “trying too hard” and being insincere) but to instead be natural. Be available. And be open-minded, always with your partner’s happiness in mind.
Categories: interracial dating advice