A few weeks ago I went to meet my boyfriend's parents, only I didn't know I was "meeting the parents" until I was literally two feet in front of them, meeting them. See, typically, when I'm going to meet someone's parents, I do a little bit of prep. You know, I get my story straight. I get my mind centered. I do some research. I put together some sort of host gift. But my new boyfriend, who invited me to his home for the holiday weekend, failed to mention that his parents would be joining us, too.
We walked into the kitchen and there were his mom and dad, sitting at the table, waiting for us to join them. They were expecting me, so they had their questions and expectations lined up. But because I wasn't expecting to see them, I just stood there, frozen and stupefied. I wanted to kick him in the pants. I wanted to run away. I couldn't do either.
I've lived to tell the tale of an unexpected meeting of the parents, so it wasn't the end of the world, but it did make me think of the type of prep that's necessary to do so. If you're in a serious relationship and you're going to start a relationship with that person's family, there are a few circumstances you should anticipate happening in order to make that initial first meeting go smoothly. First impressions are important, and you want to be your best self when you meet people who could potentially be family one day. Here are 12 things you should anticipate before you meet the parents:
Get Your Information Straight
If you haven't asked your partner about their parents, do so. If they're Google-able, search them. Get as much information as you can before you meet them so you can be as prepared to connect with them as much as possible. Everyone likes to feel considered.
Know How You Met
The two of you might have different ideas of your first meeting, or maybe you met on an app and their parents would not be cool with that. Discuss your story before you're put on the spot. Nothing makes people uncomfortable like a story full of holes!
Be Ready To Help
It's always polite to offer to help out. Whether it's with cooking or cleaning, it's nice to make yourself useful. But be prepared to actually help. Never offer without the intention of lending a hand.
Consider The Dress Code
You might not know if your partner's parents are conservative or lax until you're standing in front of them. You don't want to hide your personality by dulling down your wardrobe, so wear something that represents you for sure — but make sure that you're also dressing according to the nature of whatever circumstance you're meeting them under. Try to find a happy medium until you get a sense of what they find to be appropriate, especially in their own home.
They're going to ask you a lot of questions about yourself. Think about how you might answer beforehand. Find the words to explain your job, your interests, and some background information on your family. It's important to be able to talk about yourself, regardless of who you're sharing the information with.
Don't Come Empty Handed
You might not anticipate this before hand, but when their parents are hosting you or feeding you, you might feel uncomfortable if you have nothing to contribute. Bring a candle, a bottle of wine, or some fresh flowers — it's never too much and it's always welcomed.
You're only as interesting as you are interested. Be sure to think of some questions to ask your partner's parents. How long have they lived in this house? How did they meet? Where did they go to school? What are their hobbies? Make them feel important, too — and take yourself out of the hot seat.
Know Why You Like Their Child
This might sound like a given, but make sure you have the words to explain why you like their child. Why their child is special to you. Why you value them. They might not ask, but it's something you should think about.
The shy bug might bite you. You won't see it coming, but all of a sudden the commotion will render you quiet. You might feel like you have nothing to say or add. You might get self conscious and retreat inward. You must fight the bug! Sometimes being quiet can be misconstrued as uninterested or rude. Be ready to take on the awkwardness and push past it.
While you might have Bernie Sanders tattooed on your inner thigh, your parent's parents might be wearing Trump trucker hats. Be prepared to have disagreements, but find a way to be honest about your opinions without being offensive. Everyone deserves an opinion, it's never your place to challenge that.
Leave Your Phone In Your Bag
Some parents are deeply offended by phone use. To be safe, leave your phone out of sight while you're interacting with their parents. The last thing you want is to be reprimanded on your first meeting.
Keep It PG-13
You might be very used to being touchy-feely with your boo. You might even be so used to it that you don't realize you're constantly touching each other. Take a minute to consider how you behave before you meet the parents. You don't need to act cold to your partner, but you should be considerate and avoid making their parents uncomfortable.
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