Alright folks, it’s that time of the year, when many boyfriends will be meeting their girlfriend’s parents for the first time, and vice versa. Meeting the parents is always a big milestone since, well, you really would not introduce someone to your parents unless you are seriously involved with them, right? While many see it as a scary time, it doesn’t have to be awkward and scary if you have the right tips. So, how do you handle meeting his/her parents for the first time? We have the low-down.
1. First of all, as cliché as this may sound, just be yourself.
Do not try too hard to impress as most people can see through bullshit and you may also come across as a showoff-ey kinda person. Also, do not lie about things like your job, background and what not as in future, you may forget the lie or they may find out that you lied and will not be pleased.
2. Bring a gift.
It’s a great gesture. Carry a bottle of wine, or a bouquet of flowers or even some supermarket shopping. Never go empty handed to meet the parents. You can ask your partner to give you an idea of something that his/her folks would appreciate.
3. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and make eye contact.
This will let them know that you're a confident person.
4. Look the part.
Of course, don’t be over the top, like wearing a dinner gown or a bespoke tuxedo. At the same time, don’t go looking like a hobo. Go for nice casual outfits that make a good first impression. Keep your makeup minimal ladies, and gents, grooming is important.
5. Ask your partner what to expect, kind of like a cheat sheet.
Are there customary family traditions that they (the family members) follow? Such as praying before dinner, having dinner at a certain time etc.? Ask about those nitty gritties so that you’re well prepared.
6. Beware that you may have to sleep in separate rooms or even get a hotel.
Some parents are pretty strict and will not allow a man to sleep with their daughter in the same room under their roof, especially before marriage. So, ask your partner so that you make plans accordingly.
7. Keep the PDA very minimal.
In fact, if you can, don’t show any PDA at all. Kissing, cuddles and all that shebang, do it behind closed doors or wait till you get back.
8. Compliment the food.
Holiday food takes a lot of time and effort to make. Be sure to throw in a few compliments here and there, just to show them that you appreciate the effort.
9. Offer to help with some chores.
Even if they tell you not to worry about it, insist on helping out, at least in one way or another. It can be simple chores like setting or clearing the table after dinner. This way, they will see that you’re not a lazy person and could even see how you can blend in with the rest of the family in future.
10. Have some conversation topics and points.
Sometimes, dinner times can get really awkward, some awkward silence. This is the time the mother or father may start to ask those deep or not so deep questions and everyone will be listening to your answers. It’s good to be well prepared with answers and some points so that if you’re thrown in the deep end, you can swim your way out. In-laws tend to be very intimidating at the beginning. They kinda want to vet the person being brought in as a potential addition to the family and they want to make sure that this person is good enough.
11. Practise good manners and respect.
Thank you, please, kindly, etc., have table manners. Basic etiquette is really going to come in handy here. If you’re the kind that cannot handle their alcohol, you also need to watch your drinking pace and not embarrass yourself.
12. Be ready to talk about yourself a lot.
You’re the new addition to the family, all focus will be on you. Remember, just be you, don’t try too hard to impress. If you have your talking points, you’ll be good! You could also tell some jokes so that they see that you're a person with a great personality. But hey, the jokes need to be PG okay?
13. If they don't warm up to you just yet, do not worry.
Dust yourself off and try again next time. Some people are less friendly in nature than others. See where you went wrong and fix the wrongs; another opportunity will present itself and sooner than later, they will begin to like you.
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