Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time may seem like an intimidating ordeal, one that you might even be tempted to reschedule a few times in order to mentally prepare yourself for the equally exciting and nerve-wracking event.
On one hand, it could be a positive and optimistic view into the possible future for you and your partner, say if the parents are immediately accepting and warm. On top of a healthy relationship with one another. However, on the other, it could leave you feeling confused about future holidays and celebrations out of fear of seeing them again if they are hostile and their family dynamic resembles a Jerry Springer episode.
Regardless of what it results in afterward, it’s always best to go into something with a friendly attitude. One thatwants to be liked and make a good impression. For the sake of your partner’s nerves and hindsight, be on your best behavior. That means swallowing whatever opinions you have on certain topics that might begin a heated discussion and just smiling through whatever awkwardness might arise. We detail some tips on how to make a good impression or at least try to, with the parents below.
Ask (Or Stalk)
Make sure to ask your partner about his/her/their parents. Are they religious? Do they drink? Did they vote for Trump? Finding out what religion they are could avoid certain slips of the tongue that could end up offending them, and if the conversation comes up, knowing a little about it (if you are of a different religion or atheist) will impress them. However, don’t grill them on it if it feels forced. Also, if they don’t drink and you know in advance you might not want to order a whole bottle of wine for yourself, maybe skip it for this time.
Adults above the ages of 45love sharing things on Facebook. So if your partner isn’t one to elaborate and you want to find out more, stalk them online and find out about their likes and dislikes through social media. If they hate Trump they will surely post about it. If they like him they will surely post about it too.
What To Wear?
Once you have a rough idea as to where you are meeting them and what they are like, dress accordingly. Even if you have been saving that vintage faux fur coat or those white go-go boots, it might not to the best time to make a huge statement fashion-wise. Wear something your grandmother or mother would like that isn’t overly revealing or extra. This would be a convenient time to wear a classic LBD or any block color dress that isn’t too “mini”. Pair with a fitted blazer and some comfortable, appropriate shoes, like some heeled boots.
If your first meeting isn’t a sit-down one, skip the heels to not feel like a burden halfway through a walking tour when you need a break every five minutes.
Bring A Gift
Ask if anything needs bringing if you are visiting their house for dinner, like a side, dessert or bottle of wine. Even if they tell you not to, bring something anyway. Just make sure they drink if you’re bringing wine or aren’t allergic to any flowers you might pick. That would be awkward.
Make sure to leave a (preferably handwritten) thank you note for having you as a guest or a thank you text for taking you and your partner out to dinner.
Keep Conversation Topics Light
Now might not be the best time to discuss why communism is better than capitalism and how you would run the world given the chance. Stick to your work, family, hobbies and if that fails, derail the conversation towards your partner’s life. Praising him, as well as poking fun at some of his habits will open up a more organic conversation flow as everyone will be able to contribute. Furthermore, it will allow them to see that you actually care about their son/daughter/child.
Ask questions about them, because people reallylooovetalking about themselves. It could be about how they met, where they are from and certain fond memories of your partner growing up, maybe they’ll even show you some embarrassing photos of them as “misunderstood” teens.
Don’t Go OTT With PDA
You love your partner and you want his/her/their parents to know that too. Still, french kissing in front of them may show them something else about who you are and make them judge you. Remember they are from a different generation. And you don’t know them well enough yet.
You shouldn’t be french kissing or groping in front of your partner’s parents at any point, even if you’re married, but some may be more conservative than others and it might not be worth finding out through trial and error.
Holding hands, a hug and a light kiss on the cheek will show that you are affectionate enough in public to not be hiding anything, but any more could produce some unpleasant feelings from them.
Probably the most important tip is to remain smiling and friendly. Even if some backhanded comments fly your way, confronting your partner’s parents on your first meeting won’t be worth it. You may be overly sensitive and misunderstand something. For instance, I was once called my partner’s ex’s name instead of my own by his grandmother. Becoming defensive wouldn’t have been worth it. She’s in her eighties and definitely didn’t mean to insult me or make me feel unwelcome, it was a simple mistake. And even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have gained anything by reacting in an unfriendly way.
Be nice, even if it’s a struggle!