ew 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.
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 seeing. 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.
How can make a great first impression on his parents?
So, what’s a girl to do to have a disaster-free first meeting with the parents? Read on and find out!
#1 Learn some general facts about the family. You may be able to deduce some facts about the parents based on the stories your boyfriend tells you. You may find out how he was raised, who wears the pants in the family and how conservative the parents are.
These can clue you in on what the parents would approve of. And in knowing this, you can try to tone down the behaviors that the folks might not like such as smoking, being too crass with the jokes or mentioning strong political views, which we will get to in a bit.
#2 Wear something appropriate. Many parents tend to be more conservative, so anything baring your midriff or showing off 98% of your legs may not be appropriate. It’s better to stick to something classic yet still fashionable, like a nice dress or a blouse with a skirt.
However, you would also need to consider where you’ll be meeting them. If they live in a rural area and the activity for the day involves a lot of walking, ditch the heels and put on some boots. Ask your guy what his parents would like to do for the day, so you can prepare your wardrobe beforehand.
#3 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. Show up late and it’s already a bad impression. Show 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.
#4 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.
#5 Follow the house rules. Your boyfriend’s parents may be very particular about the rules in their home. For instance, they may not approve of smoking or drinking. They may not be very receptive to toilet humor or cussing. They may even ask you to take off your shoes before you enter the house. These rules are sacred, and they probably won’t take kindly to a stranger breaking them.
#6 Bring a gift. 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.
#7 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.
#8 Don’t pretend to be someone else. So you heard they used to love your boyfriend’s ex, Sophie. Sophie was nice. Sophie 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.
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.
#9 Offer to help out. If you’ve arrived a wee bit early, offer to lend a hand in the preparation for the meal. However, many moms may be particular with how to run their kitchen so make sure you follow her instructions to a T.
Also, 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. Plus 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.
#10 Bring on the compliments. 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. Also, don’t forget to compliment them on the meal they have prepared.
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 Avoid conversation danger zones. It’s said that you should never talk about politics or religion when people are drinking. These two topics are also a no-go zone when you’re meeting the parents. You’d be lucky if they share the exact same views as you. But it’s more likely that you’ll disagree on some of the finer points. To avoid this, you can say something like, “I’d rather not discuss it” along with the sweetest smile you can muster.
#12 Take it easy on the 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. 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.