find out how the land lies

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find out how the land lies

To find out about or come to understand a particular state of affairs or the way a situation exists or has developed, especially before taking any decisive or definitive action. Given the turbulent nature of this market, I think it would be prudent for us to find out how the land lies before we agree to invest in your company. I'm just finding out how the land lies between my parents before I make any solid plans to come visit them.
See also: find, how, land, lie, out