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18 Signs It’s Time & Ways to Prepare Your Partner to Meet the Parents

Is it time to meet the parents? It’s a big decision, but understanding the signs means you’ll get the timing right and look forward to a smooth meeting!  

time to meet the parents

Introducing your partner to your parents is a big thing. It’s not something you should do quickly or simply for the sake of it. You need to know the right time to meet the parents according to your situation.

Do it when you are both ready. Figuring out when the right time is will, of course, have a lot to do with how strict or relaxed your parents are. If they are laid back then go right ahead and plan something casual. Just remember to be sure that your partner is comfortable with it as well.

It may not be a big deal on your part, but it will be a big deal to your partner as meeting the folks is a surefire way to validate the seriousness of your relationship.

If your parents are more formal in the sense that a suit and tie at dinner is called for, then perhaps you should take more time to prep your partner beforehand so he or she knows what to expect.

Either way, all parties have to be ready for the meeting if you want it to be a success. [Read: How to commit to a relationship and show your partner you’re serious]

You’re about to merge two different worlds

The relationship you have with your partner is a very, very different one from the relationship you have with your parents. Even if you get along with your parents, it can be tricky to merge those two worlds. However, you can learn how to prepare your partner to meet your parents.

We all have different sides. We may show our passion and intimacy to our partners but our more fun side to our parents. It doesn’t mean you’re not being yourself with one or the other, but that they bring out different parts of you. So, incorporating those can be hard.

You want your partner to make a good impression on your parents, especially the first time they meet. Even if you know your parents are accepting, you still want things to go well. And you definitely want to prepare your partner for what to expect!

So how much should you give away?

You don’t want to scare your partner away or make them nervous. You want them to be themselves but not the way they are with you in private. So, how do you prepare your partner and how do you know when it’s the right time to meet the parents in the first place?

We’ll get to all of those details right here! [Read: What is commitment in a relationship and how to know if you have it]

Why is introducing your partner to your parents so important?

We don’t want to make you more nervous than you probably already are, but this can be a big moment in your relationship.

You want it to go smoothly. If you are close with your family, you want these important people in your life to meet and get along. Whether or not you know that this is your forever person, you want your two worlds to merge naturally. 

You want to share the holidays with your family and your partner, and you don’t want it to be awkward. You want your partner to feel comfortable with your parents. Plus, you want your parents to see that your partner makes you happy and is a good choice. 

When your parents and partner don’t get along, it can cause a lot of tension in the future. It can impact where you decide to live, how your relationships grow, and even your potential children.

Although first impressions aren’t everything, they are the beginning of what you hope to be a long and happy family unit. That’s partly why choosing the right time to meet the parents is so important. [Read: 15 commitment relationship rules to make your romance last a lifetime]

When should you introduce your partner to your parents? 

You might think them agreeing to meet your parents is a big step, but it could be just casual for them. Have that discussion with your partner.

Once you merge those words it is harder to move on later. So being on the same page beforehand is a good rule of thumb.

Also if you’ve met other important people in your lives, then the parents would be the next logical step. If they’ve met your siblings or friends, those relationships are a bit less intimidating than the parents. If you’ve done that and it went well, you should be good to take the next step.

Of course, you should introduce your partner to your parents when you feel comfortable with it. You should never pressure your partner or make them feel bad for not being at the same place as you. They may have never met a partner’s parents. They may come from a different family dynamic. You both need to feel like this next step makes sense for both of you. [Read: How to tell how your partner feels and learn to read their mind]

The clearest signs it’s time to meet the parents

You know how important this step is and you’re keen to get the timing right. If you’re still unsure, look for these key signs.

1. You are mutually exclusive

You will know that it’s the right time to meet the parents once you are mutually exclusive. There is no point in putting everyone through the paces of getting to know one another if your relationship is not going to last.

Once you have decided that you are going to be saddled with your partner indefinitely, it is probably the right moment to make the introduction to your parents. [Read: 16 signs you’re not ready for a serious relationship yet and should step back]

2. Your partner has met your friends

If your partner has hung out with your friends on more than one occasion, then it is safe to say that he or she may be ready to meet the folks.

There is less pressure when it comes to meeting a group of friends and if your partner passes with flying colors, then think about amping it up a notch and introducing them to your parents.

3. Your partner has met your other family members

Whether your partner has met other family members by pure chance or intentionally, once he or she has met an extended family member, it is probably time to meet the parents.

For example, you and your boyfriend may have run into your aunt at the supermarket and you introduced them so as not to be rude. Remember that people talk. News will spread like wildfire that your aunt met your boyfriend before your parents did.

Even chance encounters such as these can lead to massive family drama, so take the bull by the horns and set up a lunch date with your parents sooner rather than later.

The same can be said if you introduce your girlfriend to your sister over cocktails and tapas. What makes you think your sister is not going to report everything to your mum?

Expectations will be set, pre-judgments will be made and before you know it, your parents will be harping on you to introduce them to your special someone. [Read: How to tell your parents you have a boyfriend and do it right]

4. You talk about the future

Once you start thinking in terms of “us,” instead of “me,” then you know that the timing is right to meet the parents. If you see yourself being with your partner for a long time, then the next course of action is to make him or her a part of your life.

That means meeting the people who created you. This step will certainly make your partner happy as it serves as validation that you are taking things to the next level.

5. The idea isn’t intimidating to you

If the idea of your partner meeting your folks does not scare the bejeezus out of you, then what are you waiting for?

This is a good sign as it indicates that you are comfortable with the two worlds colliding. Ensure that your partner feels the same way and don’t push them if they are not ready.

6. You are proud of your partner

It is undoubtedly harder to introduce your parents to your slacker boyfriend than it is to introduce them to someone who has his shit together.

If you are proud of who you are with, it is inevitable that you would want everyone to know about his or her accomplishments. You want the people you care about to see just why you are so in love with this person. [Read: Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time – 21 dos and don’ts you MUST remember]

7. Everyone is ready

We suppose if you cannot figure out when the “right time” is, then just take it easy and only set up a meeting with the parents once everyone is mentally ready.

Speak to your parents about this special someone and gauge their reaction when you suggest a meeting. Do the same with your partner. Once you think that everyone is comfortable enough to take the next step, then you will know that it is the perfect time.

Meeting the parents for the first time is a huge step whether you think so or not. You will be surprised at how many relationships go awry just because the initial meeting with immediate family members did not go as planned.

As much as you love your partner, what your family thinks also carries weight, especially if you are close to them.

Never underestimate a parent’s intuition when determining if their child is with the right person. Parents have a bizarre sixth sense when it comes to stuff like that, so take your time and do not rush it. You will know when the time is right. [Read: Meeting your boyfriend’s parents and 14 courteous ways to charm them]

How to prepare your partner to meet your parents

If you’ve decided you are both ready for your partner to meet your parents, you’ll want to prepare them. You don’t want them going in blind. You may be used to your family but they aren’t.

Giving them a heads up about certain things that may come up is important. This builds trust. It also lets you be vulnerable with them.

You’re opening an entirely new part of your life to your partner and that is great. 

But, if you want to make sure things go smoothly, figuring out how to prepare your partner to meet your parents for the first time will reduce stress for both of you. [Read: How to make a great first impression and impress everyone you ever meet]

1. Discuss family dynamics

This is the simplest thing to do, but very important. You don’t want to toss your partner into your family dinner only for them to be overwhelmed with names, relationships, and situations. 

Let them know everyone’s name and who they are. Show them photos so they can learn their faces before accidentally calling someone the wrong name. Tell them who they’re meeting and what the relationships are like. 

Are they meeting your mom and stepdad? Are they meeting your divorced parents together or separately? Also, let them ask questions so they feel comfortable. [Read: How to get along with your partner’s family and create a lifelong bond]

2. Let them know what your parents are like

Prepare them for your parents. Are your parents serious and intense? Will they ask your partner about their five-year plan? Will they ask about their intentions or make a lot of cheesy jokes? 

Are your parents your polar opposites in politics or religion? Do they bring those things up? Prepare your partner for uncomfortable moments or topics that might arise.

Let them know how you handle it and ask them how you can make them feel comfortable. If you like to avoid certain topics with your family or if you’re fine getting into a friendly debate, your partner should know what to expect. 

3. Discuss questions your parents may ask

If you know your parents are protective, you’ll want to let your partner know that. Don’t act like your parents are easy to talk to if they are intimidating.

If you know your dad is going to ask some hard questions, let your partner know so they can prepare and not be taken off guard.

4. Let them know you’re supporting them

Remind them that you are there for them. You want this to go well but you know this is nerve-racking. Let them know that your opinion of them is what matters the most. [Read: The 15 rules to be a good partner in your relationship]

5. Don’t put pressure on

Even if you crave your parents’ approval, don’t put that pressure on your partner. Let them be themselves. Let them know that meeting your parents for the first time is just a first impression and isn’t a big deal. 

6. Help them relax

Ask what they need to feel good about this. If they are nervous, ask them why and how you can help. You don’t want them going in with clammy hands. 

7. Ease into it

Keep the introductions to something simple like coffee or brunch. Don’t introduce your partner to your parents when you’re all going away together for a weekend.

Maybe have them come in for a drink before you go to dinner. Don’t make it a six-course meal where they are feeling overwhelmed. [Read: Are you the type of guy your girlfriend can show off to her mom?]

8. Choose a calm environment

If your parents’ house is full of chaos like your siblings fighting, introduce them at a local restaurant. Don’t make it too fancy.

You want everyone to feel calm and comfortable. If you think inviting your parents to your place invites too much drama or going to theirs is too much, pick a neutral place. [Read: 12 key moments in your relationship that predict your future together]

9. Bring a gift

Not everyone does this but having your partner bring flowers, wine, or something like that can offer a good first impression. Many people say you should never show up empty-handed. 

If you think your parents would appreciate the gesture, help your partner find something they would like. 

10. Prepare your parents

Don’t just prepare your partner, also be sure to tell your parents what’s going on. Don’t just show up at their door with your live-in partner.

Let them know you want them to meet your significant other. Let them know anything they should know. 

If you fear they’ll say something inappropriate, respectfully let them know you’d appreciate them being on their best behavior. [Read: How to have a difficult conversation without losing your nerve]

11. Let go of control

Remember this isn’t the end all be all. First impressions are not everything. Things may not go as planned, but that is life and it is normal. Try to relax. 

This isn’t just about preparing your partner but also preparing yourself. Let things go and have a good time. Remember that this is a good thing and a positive step forward in your relationship. 

Meeting the parents for the first time is just humans meeting humans!

It’s so easy to build ‘meeting the parents for the first time’ into this huge deal. For sure, it is in many ways, but it’s also just human beings meeting other human beings for the first time.

When you break it down into its simplest form, you’ll see there’s no reason to worry. 

[Read: Be your own hero and take control of your own life]

With these clear signs on how to tell if it’s time to meet the parents, you can find the right opportunity to make the proper introductions. Now all you need to worry about is making a great first impression on them!

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...