You may have heard horror tales about meeting boyfriend’s parents for the 1st time, but pretend you didn’t (out of all my girlfriends just one of them had bad luck with her boyfriends’ folks, but those love birds still got engaged).
Anyway, I am sure you would still want his Mom and Dad go crazy about you, specially if you think he's a keeper. So, apart from an open mind and a positive outlook, here are a couple of other tips that you can use to make a great start with his family!
Don’t rush into meeting the family. Wait for the right time. Get to know your guy first. Once you’re sure that this relationship is ‘the one’ then mutually decide to meet the parents.
Find out about his family before hand. Know if his parents are divorced or if they're both still alive, know if he's part of a blended family, a huge house of a joint family or a nuclear one. Learn up names of family members and try to get photographs so you can recognize them before you are introduced. You’ll be more at ease if you know who is going to be present. I had an embarrassing moment when in the middle of the dinner I forgot the name of the aunt who was too at the table... Thank God I didn't have to address her. Her name is Anna, and although we broke up with that guy, I remember his Aunt's name till this day.
The right location is important. One good choice would be something neutral, like a restaurant. Choose one that is semi-formal unless you’re a pro at figuring out the cutlery!
Don’t you want to make a good impression? Don’t be late as it’s disrespectful to make others wait for you. Along with other things, you need to show his parents that you are a responsible adult. If you’re running late then call and apologies and mention what time you can be expected.
We all love them. However, finding the right gift is important. So find out in advance from your guy on what would be a good gift. Perhaps you could try a bottle of wine or some chocolates. I noticed that a box of expensive chocolates works perfectly. But make sure you know what kind they prefer - dark, white, milk chocolate...
Get as much information as you can from your mate. You don’t want to overdress or look sloppy. Stay away from mini skirts and anything that shows off your cleavage or underwear (bra straps in particular), see-throughs also should be avoided. Find out what style is expected - your boyfriend should surely know! Oh, and please, try not to put too much makeup. Many parents and grandparents might disapprove...
So you dressed up real pretty, but do you have a mind? Then prove it but don’t go overboard. Try and not show off about your exploits and education. Try and involve all the members of the family. Be polite.
Yes it works to an extent. Shower a little praise on them for making their son a fine gentleman. His mother certainly wouldn’t mind a few compliments on the food or home décor. But make sure you complement on things you really like (like their son :). You don't want the compliments sound like little suck-up lies, do you?
While it’s fine to have an opinion on certain matters, try and stay away from politics, religion and gender issues. You don’t want to find yourself contradicting all the other family members. Agreeing with things or staying politely quiet is the best policy when family debates begin. If giving an opinion can not be avoided, try to stay as neutral as possible, not to offend anyone.
After dinner stay a while and chat, but don’t linger on forever. They will probably want to wrap it up even if the evening went well. So thank everyone for having you over and make a graceful exit.
11. Ask Him Beforehand
Your boyfriend knows his parents better than anyone else, so he's the one you should ask for tips. Every family has touchy topics that they try to avoid, so ask him what they are, so you don't say something you regret. He might even tell you exactly what to talk to his mom about so that she instantly loves you.
12. Avoid PDA
His parents don't want to see their little boy with his tongue down your throat. It's okay to hold hands and maybe even to give him a quick peck, but don't spend the whole evening making-out. It's just plain inappropriate.
13. Know Your Title
They're going to be asking questions, so get your story straight. Are you officially his girlfriend or will he be introducing you as a friend? Are you serious and exclusive, or are you just a fling? Does he always bring girls home or are you the first?
14. Not Too Little or Too Much
You don't want to be so quiet that nobody notices you're around, but you don't want to blurt out your opinion every five seconds either. If you're spoken to, you should obviously answer. If the family is in the middle of a heated discussion, it's best to stay silent.
15. Know Your Manners
Be polite. When dinner is served to you, comment on how delicious it is and more importantly, say thank you. If you're the one being complimented, then you should accept it and be gracious. The niceness will pay off.
16. Stay off Your Phone
If you're texting the entire time and ignoring the conversation going on around you, you'll seem rude. You have to ignore the urge to keep checking your phone, no matter how difficult it is. Live in the moment.
17. Watch Your Mouth
Try not to be too messy when you eat. Grab as many napkins as you need and pay attention to how much you're putting into your mouth at once. Of course, if you end up spilling something, don't freak out. Keep calm and offer to do the cleanup yourself.
18. Nothing Inappropriate
If his parents are strict, you should probably skip the stories about the crazy nights when you got drunk with their son. Keep things PG rated, even your conversation. Even if his parents end up being very laid back, watch what you say. You don't want to take it too far.
19. Offer to Help
Offer to help with dishes. Offer to help with setting the table. Offer to help with whatever you can. Even if they don't need your help, they'll appreciate the sentiment. You want to come across as kind.
20. Relax Beforehand
See if you can hang out with your boyfriend at the movies or at your house before meeting his parents. That way, you can have fun with him and relax a little. The less nervous you are going in, the better it'll go.
No matter how nervous you are, you shouldn't spend the evening looking miserable. If you do, then his family won't think highly of you. Laugh at the lame jokes his father tells and smile when you don't know what everyone else is talking about. Look like you're happy to be there.
Meeting the parents doesn’t need to be a dreadful. So, basically just be nice, open and honest. If you plan things in advance or at least think over the questions they might ask you, you will feel more comfortable and prepared. I know it worked for me, and now my mother in law and I are in a great relationship :) I am pretty sure these tips will work for you too.
Good luck, and remember, if their son fell in love with you, they'll love you too!
This article was written in collaboration with editor Holly Riordan.