We’re Only Dating, Do I Have to Invite Him to Thanksgiving Dinner?

Hey T,

I hope this letter gets to you quickly because I kind of need an answer ASAP. The thing is I’ve been dating this guy for a little over two months. Everything is cool between us, but I wouldn’t say we were in a relationship just yet. Not that I don’t want to be, we just haven’t had that talk yet. Okay so the point. He asked me what I was doing this Thanksgiving and I told him my family was coming to town for dinner. When I asked him about his plans, he said he didn’t really have any. His family is on the west coast, and the people he considers his friends are all going out of town. I feel bad for him because it basically sounds like he is going to be spending Thanksgiving alone.

Now he hasn’t outright asked to come to Thanksgiving with me and my family, but I feel like he has dropped a few hints like he wants me to ask. The problem is, I’m not comfortable with inviting him. My family knows I’m gay, but have never met one of my boyfriend’s, or anyone I’ve dated, and I don’t want to start that tradition now. I’d rather wait until I’m with someone I know for sure is going to be the one. The question I have, is how do I not invite this guy to dinner without feeling like a jerk? Again, I like this guy and want to see where things between us go and don’t want to offend him.

Thank you,

Holiday Bluezzz

Dear Holiday Bluezzz,

Thanks for writing to me. I have to say, you have quite the interesting question. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to your predicament, being stuck between the choice of being kind and hospitable or maintaining boundaries and private traditions.  While the mere phrasing of the choices I just outlined may sound like you have to choose between right or wrong, that’s really not the case.

Based on what you wrote, it sounds as if introducing a boy to your family is a big deal. Like taking such a step reflects a level of intimacy and commitment that you and this guy simply haven’t achieved yet. To be honest, most people wouldn’t want to bring someone they are just dating around their parents and other family members. Thinking about all the awkward introductions, exhaustive list of questions, and the occasional judgmental stare and “oh” would make me nervous too. Especially over someone I haven’t even changed my dating status for. So yeah, I get your apprehension.

The thing is, if you were to invite this guy to Thanksgiving, who said you had to introduce him to your family as anything other than a friend. You yourself said you two haven’t officially jumped into coupledom. And I assume you two have built a friendship by now. My question to you is, would inviting this guy over for dinner and introducing him as a friend take the potential pressure and anxiety off? (Provided the guy knows he is meeting your family as just a friend.)

Suggestions going forward.

  1. Remember one important fact in all this, the guy you’re dating hasn’t actually asked for an invitation. If you’d rather maintain your boundaries and keep your dating life private from your family, then do that. Stop putting pressure on yourself. It’s possible this guy is not soliciting an invite, but rather you’re just misreading the signs.


  1. If you are really that worried about him being alone for Thanksgiving, then by all means, invite him to dinner under the friendship label. Just make sure he knows that.


  1. Again, if you are worried about him being alone for the holiday, you could take a break from your family for two hours or so and take him to a movie that night. Oh, and it would also be nice if you took him a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. Just a thought.


  1. Don’t ever pressure yourself into taking steps in a relationship you’re not ready to take. Let a relationship naturally progress.

As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott

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