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Meeting Your Boyfriend’s Parents: 23 Dos, Don’ts & Tips to Impress Them

Are you meeting your boyfriend’s parents soon and want to make a good impression? Here are some tips to make sure they fall in love with you too.

meeting your boyfriend's parents

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. 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.

Few activities can be more anxiety-inducing than meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time. It’s one of those relationship milestones that tell you that things between you and your new guy are getting pretty serious. 

Meeting the folks and even visiting them at their place is like symbolically entering your boyfriend’s home zone. [Read: 18 signs it’s time and ways to prepare your partner to meet the parents]

Now, it’s okay to be completely nervous about this momentous event. One reason for this is the fact that his parents’ opinion of you matters a lot. You would definitely want them to like you enough to give your relationship a thumbs up.

Another reason you may get anxious is that you might meet the siblings as well. Siblings can be a wee bit critical of who their sibling is dating. That’s because they know some things that the parents might not know off the bat.

For instance, they may be able to tell by just looking at you if you fit into any stereotypical categories such as the high-maintenance girl, the girl who’s one of the boys, or the prim and proper lady a.k.a. the super uptight prude. 

In addition to that, they may also be able to influence the parents’ impression of you by cluing them in on what their first impressions of you are.

When should you meet your boyfriend’s parents?

There really are no strict rules for when you should meet your boyfriend’s parents because it’s different for each couple. And it’s even different for each individual within the couple too.

Some people wait until they are exclusive before they meet the parents. But others want to have a partner meet their parents very early on to see how they interact with them, such as being respectful or talkative. [Read: Overprotective parents – 28 signs, psychological effects, and how to deal]

But most couples wait until they are in a committed relationship. That can take days, weeks, months, or even years. When you meet the parents, it’s usually a sign that the relationship has long-term potential.

Another thing to keep in mind is that meeting the parents can give you a lot of information about your boyfriend that might have taken you weeks, months, or even years to learn on your own. So, it can be quite helpful to assess your compatibility further.

How big a deal is “meeting the parents?” 

Most people would say that meeting your partner’s parents is a big deal, while some people don’t think it is. A lot of people see it as a significant milestone in your relationship.

They think it solidifies the idea that you’re not just dating and that you’re heading toward a serious relationship that has a future. [Read: How not to screw up when you meet the parents for the first time]

Other people think that women put too much emphasis and meaning on meeting her boyfriend’s parents. They might project their own ideas of what it means onto their boyfriend when it could be a casual thing to him.

The only thing that matters is if you think it’s a big deal. However, regardless of whether you do or not, you should still try to make a good impression and be polite. 

Meeting your boyfriend’s parents – the Do’s and the Don’ts

There are plenty of things that you should do when you meet your boyfriend’s parents. But there are also some things that you shouldn’t do as well. [Read: Interfering parents – All the ways they can affect your love life]

These handy tips ensure you make a great impression when meeting your boyfriend’s parents. And that the meeting goes as smoothly as possible.

Let’s start with the Do’s.

Do

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.

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.

Understanding the significance for them and communicating what it means to you means you both understand each other’s feelings about the event, including both your expectations of it.

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. [Read: Girlfriend material – How to show him you’re serious]

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 the 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. [Read: Proper social etiquette – The rules that redefine modern manners]

So, it’s best to be right on time. Being a tad bit early is fine, especially if you’ll be meeting the folks in a restaurant or a particular venue. However, it’s a different story if you’ll be dropping by for lunch or dinner. 

Showing up late makes an immediate bad impression. Showing up too early, like up to thirty minutes early, and they might not be prepared to receive you yet, which is just as annoying as being late.

Treat the first meeting as a job interview—would you arrive late for that? We didn’t think so. [Read: How to be a good girlfriend – 27 ways to make your man love you more]

4. Show appreciation for their invitation

It’s always a good idea to start off the conversation by thanking them for inviting you to their lovely home. You can also casually add in that you’ve never been to their area before, which can then lead to a nice opening conversation.

5. 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?!

6 Dress to impress

Many parents tend to be more conservative, so anything bearing your midriff or showing off 98% of your legs may not be appropriate. [Read: How to recognize true love when it comes into your life]

So, 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. It’s better to stick to something classic yet still fashionable, like a nice dress or a blouse with a skirt.

You also don’t want to feel uncomfortable and out of place if you dress in jeans and trainers and end up in a swanky restaurant. Choose an outfit that is smart and comfortable, and as inoffensive as possible. 

Remember, parents are unlikely to judge you on your fashion sense, so there is no need to go wild! [Read: How to be a lady that awes her man and everyone else]

7. Obey the rules

Each household has its own way of doing things, whether it’s making sure you take your shoes off before coming inside, not swearing, or 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, or do something you shouldn’t just because they failed to tell you.

8. 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 or offer to take the dog for a walk afterward. [Read: The rules for dating etiquette for the modern woman]

Plus, you will get points if you get your boyfriend to help you out as well, so he can let you know if he thinks his parents are taking a liking to you.

But don’t insist on helping when your help has been respectfully declined. Instead, you can offer to clear the table or help with the dishes once the meal is over. 

If you go out for a meal, make sure you offer to pay your share. You don’t want to seem like a gold digger.

9. Be polite

Good manners never hurt anyone, and this couldn’t be more true when you are meeting your boyfriend’s 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 3 am, but it means you won’t offend anyone either. So, why not save that for a few meetings down the line?! [Read: 27 subtle ways to be more graceful and elegant]

10. Bring on the compliments 

Your boyfriend is going to be the apple of his parents’ eye. Parents love it when they know that they raised a fine gentleman. You can tell them how your boyfriend is very thoughtful and respectful, as this is a reflection of good parenting. 

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! [Read: 20 funny compliments you can use to flatter and make them laugh]

Also, don’t forget to compliment them on the meal they have prepared. It’s just a polite thing to do, even if you really don’t think it’s that good – just fake it! 

However, be careful with compliments as it’s easy to go overboard. Don’t go praising every single thing, as this can make you look like you’re faking your enthusiasm.

11. Be yourself

So, you heard they used to love your boyfriend’s ex, Sophie. Sophie was nice. And she was sophisticated. Sophie was clever. But you’re not Sophie. You’re you. You don’t want to be the cheap imitation of the girl his parents used to like. [Read: How to be yourself – 26 steps to unfake your life and love being you]

Be who you are and don’t try to change it for anyone else. If you think they won’t like you, try to tone down the traits they might not like and count on the traits that they’ll probably like more.

You’re still trying to give them a good first impression, so take it easy on anything that comes on too strong.

So, 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.

Your partner should love you for who you are and be proud to show you off to their loved ones. Don’t be afraid to let your own lovely, unique personality shine through! [Read: 13 inspiring ways to bring out the best in yourself]

12. 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 is a nice touch. You can thank them for their hospitality, and gush 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! [Read: 9 easy things you can do to get your boyfriend’s mom to adore you]

13. Learn a little something about the venue

You may be meeting your guy’s parents at a restaurant you’ve never heard of. But thanks to the internet, you can find out what their specialties are so you won’t spend too much time deciding what to order.

If you’ll be visiting a Japanese, Chinese or Korean restaurant, it’s also a good idea to start learning how to use chopsticks. You definitely don’t want to end up spilling your kimchi all over the table.

Pro tip: It’s also a good idea to learn how to pronounce the stuff on the menu, too. [Read: Dating the guy who still lives with his parents]

Don’t

And now, here are the things you should avoid doing when you meet your boyfriend’s parents.

14. 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. [Read: How to get over an ex – 17 steps to heal ASAP in the healthiest ways]

15. 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 as 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.

Wait until you are sure, as once you have said something, no matter how tongue-in-cheek it was meant if it goes down badly, there is no coming back from that!

16. Don’t talk about controversial topics

Politics, religion, and the economy are topics you should avoid when you meet your boyfriend’s parents. 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. [Read: Drawing a blank? Try these 25 good conversation starters]

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!

17. Don’t have too much PDA 

Some parents may be very particular about displays of affection, so it’s best to just limit yourself to holding hands or sitting close together. [Read: Public display of affection – How to do it, PDA etiquette, and 26 must-knows]

There are still parents out there who see their son as their darling baby boy who is too good to be with some undeserving Jezebel. Don’t be the one to confirm their views by shoving your tongue down their son’s throat.

18. Don’t forget to smile

You might be really nervous, but don’t forget to put on a happy face and be friendly. No one likes a serious, “Debbie Downer” personality. So, smile and show them those beautiful teeth of yours. Laugh at their jokes and act like you are having a good time with them.

19. Don’t bring your problems with you

We all have problems, and some people have a more difficult time letting them go than others. But as best as you can, try to compartmentalize them so you aren’t preoccupied with your worries.

Stay in the moment and focus on what’s happening right in front of you. If you don’t, they will sense that something is wrong with you. [Read: 23 secrets and real life problems that make a relationship stronger]

20. Don’t overstay your welcome

If you didn’t arrive with your boyfriend, then make sure you don’t stay too long. There is nothing worse than a guest in your house that just won’t leave.

So, if his family made you dinner, you can stay through dessert and maybe an after-dinner drink, but don’t stay too late. Sometimes less is more.

21. Don’t drink too much *or at all*

Speaking of drinking, you want to stay sober the whole time. Sure, you might want to throw back a few because you’re nervous and it loosens you up.

But you don’t want to get drunk and make a fool out of yourself. And if his family doesn’t even drink at all, then you should definitely refrain from it yourself too.

22. Don’t think that you’re the only one who has anxiety

You might think that you are the only person on earth who is this anxious about meeting their significant other’s parents. But you’re not.

It’s normal to be nervous. You want to make a good impression and you want them to like you. So, you’re not alone with this feeling of anxiety. [Read: Anxious personality – 7 reasons to date an anxious person]

23. Don’t be preoccupied with your phone

These days, it’s almost instinct to take out your phone and look at it when you’re nervous in a social situation. It gives you an excuse not to talk to the people you’re with. But it’s actually rude to ignore people in favor of your phone. So, make sure you keep the phone in your purse and don’t look at it.

What to bring when you meet your boyfriend’s parents

Gift preferences vary from family to family, so it would be a good idea to ask your boyfriend what his parents are into.

Moms who love to cook may be delighted by a cute kitchen gadget, while those who love to garden may be pleased with seed packets or gardening tools with unique handles.

Dads, on the other hand, may appreciate a bottle of wine or whiskey, but don’t go overboard on your budget in an attempt to impress!

If your boyfriend has no idea what they’d like, you can give a fairly generic but useful gift such as a set of coasters, flowers, or even a pretty scented candle. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

[Read: The easy things you can to do make his mom adore you]

Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time doesn’t have to be scary. Just arm yourself with enough knowledge and some self-control, so you can breeze through this test with flying colors!

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