Tips for Meeting His Parents for the First Time
Whenever you’re in a relationship that seems to be going well, there comes the scary moment when it’s time to meet the family. No matter how well you and your guy are getting along, it can still be hard to predict how well you’re going to get along with his family. Of course, even if you and his parents are complete opposites, you still want to make a good impression. Here are a few tips that will help you hit it off with any kind of parent.
Know the Rules
Before you meet the parents, ask your boyfriend what you should know about his family in advance. Are there any topics you should be sure to avoid? Is there anything you might have in common with his parents that you can use as conversation starters? Do his parents tend to be more conservative or liberal? Are they uncomfortable with anything like PDA or skimpy clothes?
Of course, you shouldn’t feel like you have to lie or change yourself in order to make a good impression; just see it as an opportunity to start out on the right foot. Try to be as mentally prepared as possible and know what his parents expect from you and try to act accordingly. This may mean getting out of your comfort zone for a bit. Do they like to have the whole day planned out while you prefer to go with the flow? Be prepared to be as accommodating as you can to make sure you get off to a great start.
Remember: when in doubt, play it safe. Not sure if they might feel weird about short shorts and tank tops? Wear something more conservative for the first encounter, like a nice dress from Banana Republic. Not sure if they’re comfortable talking politics or other controversial subjects? Follow their lead: if they bring things up, feel free to engage in a civil manner, but try to avoid any topics that you’re concerned might lead to hurt feelings or bad blood.
Go Above and Beyond
For your first visit with the parents, be ready to get outside of your comfort zone and go the extra mile to make a really good impression. While you might be worried that this will set a precedent you can’t maintain, it’s more likely that by being extra outgoing and friendly, you will just make them feel comfortable enough with you more quickly. Here are a few things you will want to be absolutely sure to do:
- Don’t show up empty handed! While his parents are likely not expecting you to show up with a gift, it still makes a really nice impression if you do show up with a small token of appreciation. This is especially important if they have invited you to stay at their home. An appropriate gift would be something inexpensive, but a nice touch for the home, like a nice bottle of olive oil or a pretty cutting board if they like to cook. If you aren’t sure what they might like, it might be appropriate to bring a nice bottle of wine for dinner or send a bouquet of flowers from ProFlowers earlier in the day ahead of your arrival, as they’ll let you schedule morning deliveries. The element of surprise is a nice extra touch.
- While you should definitely be ready to talk about yourself and your family when asked, make sure you don’t let the conversation become one-sided. Before you meet the parents, talk with your boyfriend about things that have been going on in his parents’ lives, such as recent promotions and family news, that they might enjoy talking about. Try and find things that you have in common with his parents and make those your starting point. Discussing your shared interests will be much more genuine and you won’t seem like you’re being fake or trying too hard.
- Find things to compliment. You may not have the same taste as his parents, but you should always be able to find things to compliment them on. Whether it’s his mom’s cooking or his dad’s record collection, find things that you can relate to. It will help them feel more comfortable with you and more welcoming.
- Be sure to talk with other family members who may be around, especially siblings. Engage with them on their interests and relate with them. The more his family members like and accept you, the happier he will be to bring you around and help you feel welcomed in his family.
- If they have made you a meal or taken you out for dinner, be sure to send them a thank you note. A few nice words about the meal and how great it was to meet them and learn more about where your significant other comes from will go a long way.
While differences in personality or viewpoints can cause some problems with a partner’s parents, it’s always best to start out on the right foot no matter what to build the best possible relationship. Follow these steps to ensure that you are making the right impression for a good start, and be sure you aren’t going too overboard.