Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

It’s Time To Talk to Teenage Son About Protection

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time, and I’m extremely nervous about it. I want to present myself as best as possible, but I’m worried that I will be grilled too hard and say something I shouldn’t. How can I be more confident in this situation? -- Meeting the Parents

DEAR MEETING THE PARENTS: Interview your boyfriend about his parents. Learn about what interests them -- and what irks them. Find out what their favorite things are. Bring a gift for them that reflects their interests.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself of why you like their son. Be prepared to say that out loud if it comes up. Agree with your boyfriend about what you want to share with his parents about your relationship and what, if anything, you want to keep private.

Dress modestly while maintaining your style. Set an intention that you will be comfortable and at ease with them. Answer any questions they ask, and be ready with stories that bring your world to life for them. As long as you tell the truth, you shouldn’t have to worry about saying anything inappropriate. But if you do say something that they don’t like, you can apologize -- if the moment calls for it.

Practice mindful breathing. Whenever you feel uncomfortable, take a few breaths and trust that you will be OK.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)