Whether you’re a gawky, pimple-faced fifteen year old or a 40-something divorcee with kids, meeting your partner’s parents for the first time is always a nerve racking experience.
And rightfully so. For many, meeting the parentals is a defining point that marks the transition from ‘causal dating’ to ‘serious relationship’. While for others it’s viewed as the final test. You’ve won the affections of your new partner and presumably their friends. All that’s left is to secure the approval of Ma and Pa.
To help ease the nerves, here’s a list of 10 DO’s and DON’Ts for meeting your partner’s parents for the very first time…
DO dress appropriately – no miniskirts, ripped jeans or smelly old t-shirts please.
DON’T overdo it and go too formal. It’s not a job interview.
DO pre-warn of any dietary requirements or allergies.
DON’T complain about the food they serve you. Even if it’s a beef casserole and you’re a vehement vegan. Politely explain why you cannot eat the dish they spent hours assembling and reassure them that the additional they sides served up will suffice.
DO your homework. Have your partner give you a brief rundown on their parents so you have a few conversation cues up your sleeve. Occupation, hobbies and cultural background are a good start.
DON’T bring up any sore points. Like the fact that your partner’s dad just got retrenched or what a shame it is that the family dog just died. Leave it to them to raise these sensitive matters.
DO talk about your family members in a positive light….even if you hate their guts. They’ll want to see that you have strong family values and healthy relationships with your parents and siblings.
DON’T talk about your ex or your rowdy mate who got arrested for drunken disorderly behavior last weekend.
DO act interested and ask questions – even if they are the dullest pair of old bitties you’ve very met.
DON’T continuously check or play with your phone. Not only is this a blatant sign that you’re bored to tears, it also tells them you’re a disrespectful little brat who lacks social skills.
DO show enthusiasm and affection for their son or daughter.
DON’T go overboard with the PDAs. To their complete and utter dismay, they already suspect that you and their darling child get up to all sorts of debauchery in the boudoir. The last thing they need is to see any shred of evidence that this is actually occurring.
DO talk about ‘safe’ topics such as work, sport and travel.
DON’T talk about politics or religion.
DO make jokes – preferably of the witty PC variety. This should help ease the tension and keep the mood light.
DON’T make jokes that are crude or vulgar.
DO be open, honest and chatty. They want to get a sense of who you are and what you have in common with their child.
DON’T overshare or monopolize the conversation.
DO offer to help out with the dishes and cleaning up.
DON’T forget to compliment the food and thank them for hosting.
image sources: huffingtonpost.com
Eliza is a freelance writer and copyeditor based in New York. She has a professional background in adult education but nowadays spends most of her time researching and writing about lifestyle trends, relationships and real estate. Eliza lives with her partner of 7 years and their mischievous dachshund puppy in the idyllic Greenwich Village. A classic extravert, when Eliza isn’t locked away writing articles she’s out and about trying to find people to give her attention.