Worried about making a good impression when meeting your boyfriend’s parents? Our tips ensure you do and say all the right things for the big day.
Meeting your boyfriend’s parents always feels a little daunting. You may have been in your relationship only a few weeks or maybe many months or years. Maybe you know loads about them or very little. Whatever the circumstances, when it comes to meeting your boyfriend’s parents face-to-face for the first time, it is always good to be prepared.
Meeting your boyfriend’s parents – Everything you need to know
These 14 handy tips ensure you make a great impression when meeting your boyfriend’s parents. And that the meeting goes as smoothly as possible.
#1 Understand what it means. Before you even arrange a date to meet your boyfriend’s parents, discuss it with your partner. Be sure you are both on the exact same page as to what this means for your relationship.
Usually if you meet them for the first time early on, it is probably more informal. If your partner keeps you away from them for months, then it may well be more significant for them. They finally decided it is “the right time” for you to be introduced. [Read: 7 clear signs it’s the right time to meet the parents]
Of course, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this. It may be that your partner’s parents live a long distance away so they don’t get to see them that often themselves. They may not be that close to them, or just not think it is that much of a big deal.
#2 Do your research. Maybe you already know little details about your boyfriend’s parents before the big meet-up. However, be over-prepared! Make sure find to find out as much as you can about them before arriving.
We aren’t suggesting you go on a full-blown internet stalking mission here. Just sit down with your partner and find out their names *this is pretty important!*, what they do or did for a job, and if they have any particular hobbies or interests. That way you come up with thoughtful and insightful questions to ask, which are particularly handy if conversation runs dry.
#3 Be on time. Whatever you do don’t be late. Everyone sitting around waiting for you to turn up immediately makes a bad impression, particularly if you go for a home-cooked meal. Treat the first meeting as a job interview—would you arrive late to that? We didn’t think so. [Read: 17 easy ways to be a good girlfriend to your boyfriend]
#4 Bring a gift. A great way to get in their good books and impress the parents is to bring a gift along. This is particularly true if you visit their home, but under any circumstance a thoughtful gift shows them you are generous, kind, and polite. Who wouldn’t want their child to have a partner like that?!
#5 Dress to impress. Pick your outfit carefully. Most initial meet-ups are likely to be visiting your partner’s parents in their home or going out for a nice meal. Make sure you plan what you are going to wear whatever the occasion and dress appropriately for it.
You don’t want their initial reaction to be raised eyebrows and exchanged glances when you turn up in heels and the tiniest of miniskirts for Sunday lunch. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable and out of place if you dress in jeans and trainers and end up in a swanky restaurant.
#6 Obey the rules. Each household has its own way of doing things, be it making sure you take your shoes off before coming inside, not swearing, always letting the dad have his seat at the head of the table. It is important to respect the family rules and stick to them.
Make sure your partner tells you anything you need to know before arriving. The last thing you want to do is sit, go somewhere, do something you shouldn’t just because they failed to tell you.
#7 Make yourself useful. If you have been invited for dinner, don’t just sit there and expect to be waited on hand and foot. Ask if there is anything you can do to help prepare the meal, be the first to get up to clear the dishes, or offer to take the dog for a walk afterwards. If you go out for a meal, make sure you offer to pay your share. [Read: How to make the best first impression on his parents]
#8 Be polite. Good manners never hurt anyone, and this couldn’t be more true when you meet the parents for the first time. It is easy to slip into bad habits when you spend most of your time with your partner and friends. Remember your P’s and Q’s, don’t swear, drink too much, or get too loud and boisterous.
For the first meeting, it is always a good idea to simply play it safe by being polite, mild mannered, and friendly. It may mean you don’t end up raucously laughing, sipping brandy, and sharing stories with your partner’s dad until 3am, but it means you won’t offend anyone either. So, why not save that for a few meetings down the line?! [Read: How to be graceful and elegant – 10 things that make all the difference]
#9 Don’t mention your ex. Well, this might be a no-brainer, but it is certainly worth mentioning! It might be you still get along with your ex. Or you might harbor a deep-rooted, burning hatred for them. Whatever the case, it is best to keep them under wraps.
Your partner’s parents are unlikely to have any interest whatsoever, but mentioning past relationships leaves everyone feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Just steer clear.
#10 Don’t mention your sex life. Again, this may seem obvious, but three glasses of wine down the line and you might be feeling a bit cheeky! Remember even if everything seems to be going really well, and even if his parents are coming across like they could definitely take a joke, it is still better to stay on the safe side. That means not saying anything that might be taken the wrong way.
#11 Stick to lighthearted topics. Politics, religion, the economy. These are all fascinating conversations to get involved in, but if you are meeting the parents for the first time, it is a good idea to keep it light.
You don’t want to get into a fierce debate over the state of the education system, private healthcare, or the welfare system if you can help it. While it is great to be able to share your opinions, wait until you feel comfortable enough to know that it won’t affect your relationship.
You may have strong political and ethical views. Good for you, but it might be best to understand a bit more about your potential future-in-laws before bombarding them with your passionate opinions. Once you start a conversation like that, it is pretty hard to come back from, so be warned!
#12 Compliment your boyfriend. Your boyfriend is going to be the apple of their parents’ eye. Make sure you are affectionate, caring, and loving towards him. They want to see you as a person who takes care of and looks after their son.
They want to see your relationship as a good and happy one, so make sure that comes across in abundance, without sticking your tongues down each other’s throats, of course!
#13 Be yourself. Of course, above all, it is really important to be yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to be the loudest, funniest, craziest version of yourself, but don’t feel you have to change your whole character to fit in with their family.
#14 Send a thank you note. It might be a bit over the top, but sending a thank you card or letter saying how much you enjoyed meeting them, thanking them for their hospitality, and gushing about how you look forward to seeing them again shows you are willing to go that extra mile. It leaves them with a brilliant impression and looking forward to meeting you again!