When your boyfriend says, “Hey, hon, I think it’s time for you to meet my parents,” you probably won’t be able to suppress an internal shudder. Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time can be scary business. You’ll get to meet the mother who dotes on him and the father he takes after. You try to be excited, but there’s at the very least a small part of you that is worried about the kind of impression you’ll make on them and how you’ll get along. All right, that part of you is probably not as small as you’d like it to be.
But despite any meet-the-‘rents stories you might have heard from friends and family, you needn’t be terrified. Contrary to popular belief, not all meetings end with the mother eyeing you beadily or his father shaking his head in disappointment. In fact, a number of parents end up loving their son’s girl as their own. With the right mindset and attitude and a dose of natural charm, you can impress your boyfriend’s folks in no time. We’ve listed a few things you can do below:
1. Do not overthink or go crazy
Yes, the idea of meeting his parents is scary. Our brains tend to go into overdrive when it comes to thinking about situations that scare us, and that fills our heads with endless questions, like what if they’re mean? What if they don’t like me? What if his mom is like Cinderella’s stepmom? What if they hate me? You tend to immediately think they will notice every negative aspect of your looks and personality, judging you for dating their precious son.
If your head is swimming with questions, stop and take a breath. Overthinking and paranoia will not help. Remember, you’re just meeting his parents. If you stress yourself out (adding eye bags to your beautiful face in the process), this could actually make things worse. Don’t immediately jump into assumptions or conclusions. Just calm down and prepare yourself for the big event.
2. Do your research.
Your boyfriend may have told you stories about his mom and dad in the past, but it’s best to know the general facts about your potential in-laws. Don’t hesitate to ask him about his parents; learn about their jobs, hobbies, and other interests. This helps you find common ground for conversation starters with his folks. After all, most people appreciate conversations about their interests.
Also, ask your boyfriend if there’s anything important you need to know. You need to know if his mom has a bit of an OCD streak so you’ll know when to take off your shoes, for example. Or maybe you’re meeting the parents over brunch and his dad is a grouch until he gets his coffee. Doing your research preps you for the special day.
3. Bring a small gift.
When his family invites you for a picnic or dinner at their place, bring a small gift for his parents. You can never go wrong with a basket of muffins, a box of chocolates, or a bottle of wine. Bake them a cake or some cookies or prepare a gift basket. Ask your boyfriend for tips on what they like and dislike. In your own little way, show appreciation by offering treats. Bringing a small gift leaves an instant good impression on his parents, and it’s just plain old good manners.
4. Dress appropriately.
You are what you wear. If his parents meet you in your cleavage-exposing top and attention-grabbing miniskirts, they’re bound to develop the wrong impression, especially if they’re on the conservative side. Wearing the right attire for the occasion shows his folks that you respect them. After all, you wouldn’t wear these clothes to a job interview either, right? And it’s just as (if not even more) important to impress in this scenario.
Ditch your skinny jeans, crop tops and skirts for a conservative look. Think about what your own parents would want you to wear. Go with the whole “simplicity is beautiful” philosophy when dressing up to meet his folks. Wear small and tasteful jewelry rather than bling, and limit the amount of skin you show. Of course, try not to overdress for the occasion, either. Looking your best is important, but you need not go overboard with your attire.
5. Be open and honest.
Once you’ve met them, his parents will probably ask you questions about yourself. Yes, you want his parents to like you, but there’s nothing worse than a girlfriend who fakes it or tries too hard. Don’t use lies to raise some parental points. Instead, just be very honest with them, but not to the point you reveal your entire life’s history. Curate the information you’re sharing with them. If things progress between you and your guy, there will be time enough to learn more about each other later on.
When they ask you questions about you career, be truthful. Answer their questions in a confident yet polite manner. This way, even if you think they’ll disagree with your thoughts, they will admire your sincerity.
6. Mind your manners.
Etiquette is important, especially when it comes to his parents. Remember, you are speaking to elders, so best be respectful with your tone. Don’t forget to use magic words like “please” and “thank you” as well as honorifics like “sir,” “ma’am,” and “po.” These little details can make a big difference on the impression that you make. Keep in mind to shake their hands and answer all questions in a polite manner.
7. Make it a point to show them how much you care for their son.
At the end of the day, parents want what’s best for their children, especially when it comes to relationship matters. His parents want to see their son in a relationship with a woman who cares for him deeply. Make sure you tell them how much you appreciate your partner. Share good stories about their son and express your admiration for him.
While there’s no need for extreme public display of affection (his parents might freak out over this), show small bits of affection. Fill your partner’s water glass or ask him if he wants another helping of rice. Show his parents that you care for their son as much as they do.
Meeting his parents need not end in tears and bad impressions. With the right attitude and manners, you might even make them love you more than you thought. So brush away the jitters and prep yourself for your potential in-laws with confidence. Who knows? That monster-in-law might actually turn out to be your greatest ally in your relationship.