Being introduced to new people can be pretty nerve wrecking. What more if it’s your significant other’s parents? Here are some tips to ensure you’re well prepared for the big day.
Imagine this scenario: Your significant other of just three months has just had a long day. You’re listening attentively as they share their experiences over a nice warm meal. The conversation takes a turn and they mention something about introducing you to the parents. How do you intend to approach the matter?
For some, meeting their other half’s parents is a breeze while for others, panic ensues. “How do I make a good first impression without embarrassing myself? How do I make sure that they like me? What if they don’t? Would it end my relationship?”
Meeting the special people in your signficant other’s life is a natural part of a romantic relationship. If you want to learn to be your best self on such an occasion, we’ve got you covered!
Are you familiar with the phrase ‘Dress to impress”? It may come off as a little dramatic for a meeting with the parents but frankly it pays to dress well. What you wear says a lot about you and when it comes to first impressions, clothes can be a very influential piece of the puzzle. So you definitely need to carefully pick out your outfit when you first meet your partner’s parents. What you need to aim for casual but smart. Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in without coming off as a slob or trying way too hard. For the ladies, a simple knee length dress with an accessory or two and heels or flat shoes would be perfect while for men, you could go for jeans of a darker shade or khaki pants and a collared t-shirt.
Upon meeting the parents do take the initiative to introduce yourself without the help of your significant other. You will find that approaching them like a confident adult, will help you greatly. Shake their hands when greeting them, or if they are ‘huggers’, don’t be shy and embrace them fully. This will not only show that you are friendly but that you are also mature enough to carry yourself without the support of your partner. Doing this will help put them at ease rather than tensed and uncertain about meeting their child’s new love interest for the first time. When they are at ease, you will be too.
Don’t go empty handed
If you are invited to the parent’s home, do bring along a little gift such as a bouquet of flowers, dessert or a box of quality chocolate. This shows that you are thoughtful and sincere. However, if you are meeting them at a restaurant or café, bring some extra cash with you so that you can offer to pay. In a friendly but lowered voice, lean over toward one of the parents and say “If you don’t mind, I’d like tonight’s dinner to be my treat, is that okay?” If your offer is declined for the second time, don’t persist as things will just get awkward for everyone. Instead, thank them and let them know the next meal you have with them is on you.
Showing who you really are exudes courage and authenticity. This is essential because parents can be a good judge of character and only want what’s best for their children. In this case, it is someone who is genuine and sincere. Don’t be afraid of sharing your opinions and thoughts on matters you are passionate about as this is proof that you have a mind of your own. Having said that, do keep in mind that while having an honest conversation with your partner’s parents scores you brownie points, you also need to be sensitive and respectful. Whatever happens avoid topics such as politics or religion. Don’t be shy and ask them questions about themselves too (please see Conversation Ideas 101).
Offer to help
Always look for opportunities to help. For instance, if you’re having dinner with your partner’s parents at their house, offer to help set the table or do the dishes instead of making yourself comfortable on the couch while everyone else does the work. They will appreciate your offer even if they tell you that it is okay. This gives them the impression that you are hardworking and that you care. It also shows that you respect and appreciate the effort they have gone through as the host.
It is good to remember that your significant other’s parents are people too and that they are hoping to get to know you better. They have their child’s best interests at heart and all they want is to know that their child is with someone polite, trustworthy and respectful. Use this guide to help you prepare for the meet up but remember to stay true to who you are. Good luck!
Conversation Ideas 101
Here are a few ideas you can use as a conversation starters when you first meet your partner’s parents.
- What’s the best family trip, or worst vacation you’ve had?
- What are your hobbies and interests? (A useful tip: Ask your significant other how their parents are like and what interests them, beforehand, so that you are more prepared)
- What are your fondest memories of…. (your significant other) during childhood?
What not to do
- DO NOT be late. Unless there’s a serious emergency, there’s no reason for you to arrive past the agreed time. If you don’t know what the traffic situation will be like, do some quick research on how long it will take to be at your destination and plan accordingly.
- DO NOT be vulgar or overly familiar. Even if it’s not unusual for you to act that way when you are with your significant other, it is best to be reserved with the parents — especially when you are meeting them for the first time.
- DO NOT wear revealing or sloppy clothing. It doesn’t matter what’s your personal style. Save that for times when you go out with your partner or your friends. Aim for a smart casual style instead.
- DO NOT indulge in PDA, which stands for Public Display of Affection. Yes, it’s great to be young and in love but your partner’s parents will definitely not appreciate you being physically close with their child, in front of them.