If you have siblings, you may feel this innate protectiveness over them—even if they're older. With this in mind, it makes sense that when they introduce you to someone who may potentially break their heart, you may be a little tougher on their new partner than you would be on, say, their new co-worker. Even though it's coming from a place of love, try to ease up a bit because their new S.O. is probably already intimidated and nervous about meeting his or her partner's sibling.
Even if your sibling's new partner isn't exactly your cup of tea, being rude or standoffish won't do anything except upset your sibling and give their partner a bad first impression of her significant other's family. Our advice? Be as nice as you can (without coming across as fake), and if they aren't the right person for your sibling, they'll realize that on their own in due time.
Do: Welcome Them
Nothing puts people more at ease than a warm and inviting host. If your sibling and their new partner are coming to stay with you, talk to them and find out what sort of things their partner is into, so you can make a concerted effort to bond with and get to know him or her. Of course, you don't have to go too big and grand; just keep it simple. If they love Italian food, make a restaurant at your favorite pasta joint. If they are into exercising, sign the two of you up for a spin class. Your sibling will also be so glad to see two important people in their life getting along.
Don't: Throw Your Sibling Under the Bus
Of course, a little fun-poking can lighten the mood, but make sure your jokes are appropriate and don't paint your sibling in a bad light to her new partner. Stay away from anything that your sibling may be ashamed of or wouldn't want to talk about, like a drunken night or an embarrassing sexual encounter.
Do: Read the Room
If your sibling's new partner is coming to the extended family's big holiday brunch, keep an eye on them. Notice that they've been talking to your pretentious and politically-charged uncle for the past 20 minutes? Jump in and save them with a family story of your own.
If the vibe is much more intimate, like a couples dinner at your place, keep the conversation flowing so that there aren't any awkward silences. Maybe come with a few stories prepared just in case, if on-the-cusp witty banter isn't exactly your strong suit.
You may be curious about your sibling's new love interest, but try to keep your questions at bay. After all, you don't want them to feel like they are at a job interview. Be engaging and inquire about their interests, childhood, college experience, and profession, but definitely don't ask about them any of their former relationships.
Some safe questions to ask: Where did you two meet? What did you do on your first date?
Do: Be on Your Best Behavior
Cocktails and red wine may help ease any pressure for this meeting to go well, but try to limit your consumption so that you don't end up getting drunk and doing or saying something you may regret. On that note, be extra cautious of any potentially hurtful comments. Your sibling's new partner may have a different sense of humor than yours, so what you deem hilarious, they may take as rude. When in doubt, air on the side of caution and be considerate.
Don't: Embarrass Anyone
This goes hand-in-hand with being on your best behavior. Deferring to your sibling may not come naturally to you, but for this particular occasion, try to avoid doing, wearing, or saying anything that you know will bother them. If you want to be extra considerate, ask them if there's anything they'd rather you stay away from.
Do: Make an Effort
Even if you don't see this relationship lasting a lifetime, make an effort to get to know your sibling's new S.O., and make them feel welcome. As we said, they are probably already feeling a little nervous about meeting you, so acting like you're happy and excited to finally meet them (even if you aren't) will make both them and your sibling so happy.
It's hard not to judge a book by its cover, but do your absolute best not to be openly judgmental. Unless they say something downright offensive, try to keep quiet and just nod politely. On a similar note, they and your sibling may be annoyingly public about their displays of affection, but it's only because they're so happy and want to express their love for each other. You may have been the same way when you and your partner started dating and were probably relieved that no one made you feel bad about it.
Do: Give Them a Chance
Keep in mind that everyone doesn't always give off an excellent first impression, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're bad people. Before you write your sibling's new partner off as someone you don't like, give them a chance and consider the circumstances. Maybe their luggage got lost at the airport and they're feeling a little stressed; maybe they and your sibling had a little spat in the car on the way to your home and are trying their best to be amicable until they're in private; or maybe they just got bad news from a friend or family member and is trying not to be a downer. Give them the benefit of the doubt and be open-minded.