Meeting Your Girlfriends Parents
That new relationship is going well, she’s funny, gorgeous and those sparks are really flying. Then she goes and puts a cat among the pigeons by asking if you’d like to meet her parents. Every relationship has its milestones and being introduced to her mom and dad is one of the biggest.
Let’s cut to the chase – they want to know you are Mr. Right when it comes to their precious daughter and it’s your job to prove you’re up to the job. Get it right and you are home and dry; get it wrong and boy, do you have a parental approval hill to climb. But you really like her, right? Then take our advice on what to do when meeting your girlfriend’s parents and you will ace the Mr. Wonderful test.
1. Go Prepared
Just as you would prepare for a job interview, then prepping for the big ‘mom and dad’ meet is a no-brainer. Your aim is to have enough information to avoid being caught off-guard. At the very least, know their names, their occupations and the main things they like to do. Having an idea of any ‘no-go’ topics you need to avoid like the plague is a good move too.
2. Dress To Impress
You may normally be found in a sloppy T and scruffy jeans but for this occasion, you need to sharpen up. We’re not suggesting you totally change your look – your girlfriend fell for you as you are – but do take your style up a notch. ‘Business casual’ is a good way to go, slacks and a smart-casual shirt. If you can’t live without your jeans, just make sure they are new and clean!
3. Bring A Gift
The little touches count when meeting the ‘rents for the first time so don’t be afraid of arriving with a gift. As long as alcohol is not an issue for her family, then a bottle of wine is a nice gesture, as are flowers or a dessert if you’ve been invited around for dinner. Instant ‘good boyfriend’ points, before you’ve stepped through the door!
4. Make An Awesome First Impression
The first impression and those first moments of actually meeting her parents count more than you think, so don’t stuff it up! Remember all those ‘good manners’ your own mom tried to instill in you? Well, now’s the time to get them out of the bag. A confident smile, a firm handshake and good eye contact will get you off the starting block, as will how you choose to address them. Always use Mr. and Mrs. unless they ask you to call them by their first names. And don’t forget that your girlfriend loves you and has invited you to her family home for a reason – she obviously thinks you are ‘meet the parents’ material. So always aim to be ‘your best self’…there’s plenty of time to show your personality quirks later, when they know you better!
5. Prep Some Conversation Starters
Don’t lose yourself down an excruciating hole of awkward silence by having a few conversation topics in your back pocket. A few ‘mom and dad-friendly’ subjects ready prepared can really save the day as you work to keep the conversation flowing. Make sure you discuss with your girl beforehand, so you don’t open a can of worms and try to avoid politics, religion and strong opinions – just keep it light and easy.
6. Tone Down Those PDAs
It’s early days for you and your girlfriend, so you probably can’t keep your hands off each other but when it comes to the first parent visit, tone that lust down. Show affection, by all means, but make it low key in front of her parents. This way, you are showing you care and respect their daughter. Holding hands is cool but keep everything else for when you’re alone.
7. Don’t Be Overly Familiar
Ok, so it’s going well, and the conversation is flowing, and Pa has even guffawed at your best joke. Try not to get too carried away by your success as it can all still crash and burn. Getting over familiar too soon can be a big turn off for her parents, so rein yourself in and chill – there’s plenty of time to be sharing those college stories, knocking back whiskey with dad and complementing her mother on her good looks. Or maybe not. Just focus on keeping it cool, you’re almost home and dry.
8. Limit Your Alcohol
Yup, you’re probably nervous as you have got a lot to prove. Just don’t use too much alcohol to lubricate your confidence. A few glasses of wine or beer is fine but it’s all about creating a good impression – and a drunken boyfriend is not going to make your girlfriend’s parents think you are the right one for their daughter. Save the champagne (or beer) for when you are both home and celebrating a successful first ‘meet the parents’.
9. Have An Exit Strategy
All good things must come to an end and the key to a successful first parent meet is to know when to call time. Having a time constraint on your visit gives you an endgame and a chance to plan that timely exit. And it also ensures you don’t overstay your welcome.
You can do it one of two ways – declare your hand at the start by explaining you need to be away at a certain time for an appointment. Or when you feel the evening winding down, take the initiative by saying you have an early meeting the next day and need to head home. Not only does it help to know you have an exit strategy if things are not going as well as expected, but it also shows you’re disciplined when it comes to work and commitments. Plus, by cutting the visit a little short, it could well leave a good impression….as well as leaving her parents curious and wanting to see you more. And that’s a job well done.
- Tips For Meeting Your Girlfriend’s Parents – How Stuff Works
- The Do’s And Don’t’s Of Meeting Your Girlfriends’s Dad – Esquire