So we’ve been dating this guy for a while now, and we really like him. We see a future with him and want to take the relationship to the next level — and that includes meeting his parents for the first time, the people who could be our in-laws one day.
Meeting the parents is a uniquely anxiety-inducing affair. We don’t know what to expect, even with all the questions we’ve asked our boyfriend in preparation. We want to make the best first impression we can and win them over. We don’t want to take any missteps and create awkward tension between us and our boyfriend’s family.
So what can we do to get instant brownie points when meeting our boyfriend’s parents for the first time?
1. Dress To Impress
Our boyfriend might love us in shorts and a crop top, but to meet his parents, it’s best to dress up just a little bit. Pair a dress with nice heels, or clean, fitted jeans with a fancy blouse and cute flats. Dressing up for them will immediately come across as a sign of respect.
2. Bring a Gift
If they’re having us over, show up with a little gift that will leave an impression well after we’ve gone home and that says “thank you.” Flowers are always a good bet (though make sure no one has allergies first!), or even a candle or a bottle of wine.
3. Ask Thoughtful Questions
It’s understandable to get nervous and forget to add anything to the conversation beyond answering their questions or laughing here and there. But to really impress them, show genuine interest in them – ask how they met, where they grew up, or about their own families. "What do you do in your free time?" is a great open-ended question that will give you more information about them and what they care about.
4. Show Them You Treat Their Son Well
The fastest way to get his parents on our side is to show them we value their son just as much as they do and treat him with respect. This means making sure to steer clear of cracking jokes at his expense and, instead, talking him up. Make them feel like their son is in good hands.
5. Find Something To Compliment
Everyone loves a genuine compliment, so search for something that’s worthy of one. Whether the table setting looks beautiful, or the chicken is perfectly cooked, or his mom’s dress looks wonderful on her, an authentic compliment will go a long way.
6. Eat What They Serve and Be Grateful
Even if you’re not a fan of meatloaf, eat the meatloaf. We’re allowed to have preferences, but aside from food allergies, it’ll come off as snobby and rude if we turn our nose up at something his parents prepared. Be thankful that they took the time to cook, and eat what they’re serving.
7. Don’t Be Too Handsy
While we might have no problem showing our boyfriend physical affection, it’s best to minimize touching and keep the interactions appropriate, such as touching his hand or shoulder now and then. Hanging all over him will likely put his parents off.
8. Offer a Helping Hand
His parents probably put a fair amount of effort into having us over – making the house look presentable, cooking something up, and getting ready themselves. The least we can do is offer to help; offer to toss the salad before dinner or to help clear the dishes afterward. Even if they don’t take you up on it, they’ll remember that you offered.
9. At a Restaurant, Have Good Manners
If we’re dining out with his parents, there are a few key things we can’t forget: be kind to the waitstaff (it shows manners), don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu (it shows thoughtfulness) and make sure to genuinely thank them for the meal (it shows we were brought up with respect).
10. Don’t Overdo the Alcohol
Let them set the tone; if he and his parents are drinking, we should feel free to join. But it’s best to stick to one drink. We’re already a bundle of nerves meeting them for the first time and need to ensure we stay collected, alert, and able to hold a conversation.
Meeting his parents will always be stressful — especially if we really like him. Just remember, be respectful towards them, make friendly and genuine conversation, and show them how much you care for their son.
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