DEAR HARRIETTE: How do I introduce my new friend to my family? We have only been seeing each other for about five weeks now. We like each other a lot. In fact, I plan to bring her around my family during Thanksgiving weekend. I haven't brought a woman home in a long time, so I know it's going to mean something to my folks. I am nervous because my family is nosy, and they are going to ask myriad questions. I am not sure how to handle their pending questions. Should I just spare my family the confusion and refer to her as my girlfriend? -- Somewhat Nervous, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR SOMEWHAT NERVOUS: If you consider your friend to be your girlfriend, call her that. If you have not reached that stage in your budding relationship, call it what it is. You can tell them in advance that you are bringing a friend with you to dinner, a woman you have been dating for a few weeks now. You can ask them to help make her feel comfortable by not prying too much.
Prep her as well. Let her know that your family members are inquisitive and may ask her lots of questions. She can decide in advance what she wants to discuss and where she might draw the line. It is most important for the two of you to be clear on the status of your relationship before you get there. Agree on whether you are friends, girlfriend-boyfriend or something else. As long as you are united, you will be able to make the atmosphere as comfortable as possible.