Introducing your boyfriend to your family for the first time can be nerve-racking — especially when your mother is a strong-willed character played by Patricia Clarkson.
In the new film Last Weekend, actor Zachary Booth plays the role of Theo, a young man who brings his new beau to meet his lovably dysfunctional family during a holiday at their Northern California lake house. Last Weekend features a dynamic cast including Clarkson, Jayma Mays, Judith Light, Joseph Cross, Mary Kay Place, Rutina Wesley, and the two hot young actors Zachary Booth and Devon Graye.
The hilarious and poignant dramedy hits theaters and VOD platforms on August 29, just in time for Labor Day weekend. The whole thing got us thinking about our own dysfunctional families and the wisdom we’ve accrued over the years in how to cope with them.
Check out the trailer for Last Weekend below, and scroll down for five survival tips on bringing your boyfriend home to meet your wacky clan.
Five Tips For Surviving A Weekend Home With Your Beau…
1. Ask yourself: “Am I really ready to do this?” There are a handful of major “firsts” in every serious relationship. The first time you have sex. Your first fight. Your first trip together. And, of course, the first time you introduce him to your family. Typically, each “first” is preceded by a period of reflection, in which you ask yourself whether you’re making the right decision. Never is this more important than before bringing your beau home to meet your mom and pop. Especially if they’re crazy. (Trust us, we know.) Not only do you want to be emotionally ready, but you also want to make sure your relationship is on solid enough ground to withstand whatever natural — or man-made — disasters may result from a visit home. Only proceed if you are confident you can weather this storm.
2. Don’t withhold information
While it may be tempting to downplay or simply not alert your man to what he’s getting himself into, this is not advised. Nobody likes being thrust into a chaotic situation without proper warning. It’s better to be upfront, so that he knows what to expect and can do the emotional prep work needed to survive the weekend unscathed. Not telling him about your mother’s affinity for pinot grigio and Precious Moments figurines or your nudist father’s taxidermied ferret collection could result in him feeling that you weren’t honest. And nothing kills a relationship faster than dishonesty.
3. Give him pointers
Once you’ve been completely open with your boyfriend about what to expect, it may be helpful to offer him suggestions for getting along with folks. Talking points aren’t just statements used by politicians to help sway public opinion. They can also be lifelines at awkward family gatherings. Most people know what not to talk about (politics, bodily functions, the ethics of animal slaughter, et cetera), but if you can give your man a few suggestions for conversation starters for various members of your family, it will help him feel more at ease when he finds himself sandwiched between your crazy cousin Connie and your great aunt Winifred at the dinner table with nothing to talk about except the stemware.
4. Be understanding
Hopefully your boyfriend gets along with your crew, but in the event that they’re simply too much for him to handle, don’t get upset. Be a shoulder for him to cry on. In the privacy of your childhood bedroom, with the door tightly closed and the radio on to drown out the sound of his sniffles, allow him to vent his frustrations without getting defensive or making excuses. Remember, your tolerance for your family is higher because — well — they’re your family. Your shared DNA means you’re biologically programmed with the equipment needed to cope with their quirkiness. He is not. Allow him to meltdown and try not to take anything he says in the heat of the moment too personally.
5. Remember that everything will be okay in the end
You know what they say: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Chances are your relationship will not implode over the course of the weekend. Sure, there may be some tension. There might even be a day or two of recovery time needed when you get back to your shared apartment. But if your partnership is solid, you will survive. And, years from now, you’ll look back on all this with fondness. Or, if not fondness, a sense of relief. Not just that it’s over, but that you lived to tell about it. Then you’ll promise to one another that when the two of you build a family together, yours will be different.