Meeting the parents for the first time is every lover’s nightmare. It is nerve wracking, and the pressure to please and make a great first impression can make for some excruciating moments.
But it really doesn’t have to be.
You need to remember that, in all probability, they too are eager to meet you and make you feel comfortable. Well, unless they hate you even before they meet you! But we can fix that too with a bit of effort, can’t we?
Use these pointers when you’re meeting the parents, and your very first meeting can turn out to be a happy and memorable moment for you and your prospective in-laws.
If you’re looking for a specific article on meeting your boyfriend’s parents or girlfriend’s parents, just use these articles below.
Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time? The courteous steps to charm them instantly
Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time? The 21 dos and don’ts you need to follow
Meeting the parents for the first time
“I remember meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time. His mum, dad, brother, sister and the dogs,” says Aaliyah.
“One of the frisky dogs jumped on me and knocked me down on the living room before my boyfriend had a chance to introduce me. So there I was on the floor with a large lab licking my face and the other dog trying to jump my leg. The indignity of it all!”
I’d like you to meet my parents. Gulp!
Meeting the parents for the first time can be more nerve-wracking than going on your first date.
“What if they don’t like me?” “What if I don’t like them?” “What if I say something wrong?”
Meeting your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s parents for the first time is one of those occasions you dread. Depending upon your temperament, you could suffer anything from mild anxiety attacks to nausea at the impending meeting.
It’s as if the pressure of your entire life ahead lies on your head. And it gets worse and even scary as the meeting approaches.
[Read: 7 clear signs it’s the right time to meet the parents]
Things to know before meeting the parents for the first time
The average family gathering doesn’t have all the making of a Hollywood comedy. Sometimes, dealing with the parents can take on a surreal quality. The best way to boost their confidence and to avoid the dreaded lie detector test and other forms of big screen paternal torture is to ace the first meeting.
A bit of effort, these seven tips and smarts with a blend of charm will set things just right to create a charming impression.
Do your homework
Try to find out as much as you can about your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s parents before you go. Are they liberal or are they conservative? Do they like gardening? Does dad like firm handshakes? Do they hate smoking? Ask your partner about their passions and interests and also ask if there are any issues they are particularly stiff about, so you can prevent the whole foot-in-mouth syndrome.
Meeting the parents is similar to the first date you had with your loved one. You put on your best behavior. You feel overwhelmingly self-conscious and you’re totally unable to relax. This homework might just instill the right measure of confidence in you.
[Read: How to make the best impression on your partner’s parents]
Meeting the parents outfit
Your “meeting the parents outfit” depends on the kind of couple they are. If they’re fun-loving and prefer a tee and jeans over a well-cut suit or a formal skirt on a Sunday out with friends, then casuals it is. If they’re not comfortable with dressing down on a first meeting, then wear a crisp tucked-in shirt or an elegant skirt than runs below the knees.
Dress smartly and neatly. No tight or baggy jeans, no sloppy sweat pants. Clean hair, ears, fingernails, and well pressed clothes. In short, correct dressing. Looks count!
Making a perfect impression when you meet the parents for the first time isn’t easy, but with these simple tips to help you out, you should be able to charm your partner’s parents just the way they want to be charmed.
[Read: How to look rich – 38 easy ways to look like you’re rolling in cash!]
Manners when you meet the parents
Do you remember those things your grandma used to go on about? Well, use them.
A few P’s and Q’s will make a huge difference in the world of first impressions. Be polite, say “yes, please”, “thank you” and a lot of compliments along the way about the food, the place and the people. See if there’s anything you could do to assist in the kitchen or the garage, and offer to be of assistance when they get up to get something. [Read: 25 perfect conversation starters when your mind gets foggy and you’re drawing a blank!]
These little acts of consideration linger in their happy thoughts. Don’t overdo it and try to pretend like you’re a programmed robot when you meet them. You may be nervous, but flirting outrageously with one or both of the parents is probably not the best way forward.
Talk to them, and project interest when you meet the parents. Your in-laws will like you more if you like them.
Managing your body language
Be alert, attentive and interested in your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents by keeping your body language in check.
Listen empathetically, lean forward and nod at appropriate times. Pick an easy topic for conversation, which will not get too heated. Avoid swearing and don’t talk too much about yourself. Don’t tap your foot or look at your watch, and certainly do not sit with your legs hanging wide open.
They may be testing you at times with unnecessary questions about your life, education and about the money you make, but don’t get rude in return. You don’t know where they stand in issues close to their heart.
[Read: How to be more likeable – 15 unmake ways to be adored for who you are]
Take a gift when you’re meeting the parents
A bottle of wine, a fruit basket or a bag of edible goodies is usually the best gift to take when you’re meeting the parents for the first time. But even a bunch of flowers will do just fine. But no matter what, never forget to take a gift.
Here is where the homework comes in handy. Be creative and handy and remember, anything homemade scores big. Further, try eating all or most of the food served to you. You don’t want to offend your lover’s parents.
Approval of the parents
It is normal to want to be liked and adored by your prospective in-laws. But be open to the fact that you may not fit like a glove with them. Do not expect to build an instant bond with them, but instead try to help them feel at ease, with you opening the door for a warm encounter the next time you happen to get together.
Be yourself, assert your personality and do not fake it. Be careful though so your sweetie’s parents don’t take a dislike towards you in your very first encounter.
They may never accept you if that ever happens. And even if they do, it may take a long time. They are just as anxious as you are and will be thinking the same questions as you. They are, after all, losing their “little child” to you.
[Read: How to get along with your partner’s family and create a lifetime bond]
Be cautious when you’re meeting the parents
It’s just like in the movie, Meet the Parents (2000), an ode to in-law worst case scenarios, from a couple of decades ago. The film takes a humorous look at the problems witnessed when two different families end up in the same living room, just because their children hooked up. Yes, the movie is an oldie, but if you’re looking for pointers on just how bad things can go, watch the movie before you meet the parents!
Needless to say, don’t overdo your sweet gestures and sweet talk, or you’ll just look desperate. Look at your lover now and then to take cues on your behavior.
But again, if you fall short, you’re on a one way ticket to the door. Therefore, balance. You scared yet? You should be. You’re meeting the parents!
Meeting the parents for the first time can be terrifying, but instead of worrying about making the best impression, just be yourself. Your partner liked you for who you are, and big chances are, your partner’s parents will like you too.
[Read: How to make people like you – 35 tips to absolutely charm anyone and everyone!]
Take it easy, be warm and remember these tips. Once you’ve got all these pointers in check, you’ll see that meeting the parents for the first time can actually be a memorable moment in your happy thoughts.
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