Ah, meeting the parents. A time of food, baby pics, laughter and, oh wait, your nerves being out of control. The first time meeting the parents is a big step in a relationship and it comes with a lot of pressure. There are so many questions you are asking yourself prior to the big meet. Will they like me? How should I act? What do I wear? What do I bring? You can drive yourself question crazy!
So, if you want to survive the first time meeting the parents and not have it turn out like the movie of the same name, follow these tips below.
Dress to Impress
Your outfit will be the first impression you are giving his or her parents — so make it a good one. I’m not saying you've got to get all Chanel on them, but dress to impress. Remember, you’re meeting the parents, not the old college frat friends, so make sure your outfit is appropriate. Most importantly, wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. At the end of the day, you need to feel like yourself in your clothes.
Don’t Come Empty-Handed
A little gift never hurt anybody. One of the most important rules of meeting the parents is never coming empty-handed. Showing up with wine or flowers is the best approach. Bringing dessert is another brilliant way to go. You’ll score some definite brownie points with those delicious homemade brownies.
Curiosity did not kill that cat in this scenario. Ask questions and show that you’re interested. This is perfect for that awkward silence comes in. Make sure to have a couple questions up your sleeve before the big meet and greet. “Jason told me you took two are looking to move soon. Where are you looking?” Questions like that show the parents you are paying attention and are interested in getting to know more about them.
A compliment can go a long way when it comes to meeting the parents. Show that you admire their house and compliment the decor. His or her parents probably spent the whole day tidying up and making sure everything is in its place, so trust me, they will appreciate the kind words. Compliment the meal you are eating. It’s probably their great-grandma’s famous recipe, so give Granny a shout out.
Eat the Food
Even if it’s the worst meal in the whole entire world and your mouth feels like it just went to hell and back, you’re going to act as if it’s Martha Stewart’s greatest creation. Even if you’re counting your calories, try to finish as much as you can. There’s nothing worse for a cook than watching someone barely touch their masterpiece.
Pay Attention to Woman’s Best Friend
When in doubt, the parent’s dog is your best friend. If an awkward silence comes around, just pet the dog. When you don’t know what to do, pet the dog. When you want the parents to like you, pet the dog. It’s simple — their furry fluffy baby is your golden ticket.
Don’t Forget the Siblings
Remember the siblings, too! While getting to know the parents, don’t forget his or her brothers and/or sisters as well. Sometimes the siblings are the hardest to crack. They can be the most opinionated and the most outspoken. So if you want the good word from his or her little sister Sally, then make sure to get to know her, too.
Lend a Helping Hand
If you want to get two thumbs up from Mom and Dad, then you better offer a helping hand. Asking, “Can I help with anything?” before dinner is served is a great way to start the night out right. After the meal is over, always offer to help clean up. They will definitely appreciate the gesture.
Good manners will win the hearts of your date’s parents. There’s nothing like a “please” and “thank you.” Remember those words if you want them to remember you. After the meeting, thank them for everything and follow up with a nice handwritten thank-you card. That little card will go a long way, trust me.
Written by Sara Altschule
Image: Universal Pictures