Guide to Meeting Your Girlfriend’s Parents - Alpha Male Nation
In any serious relationship, meeting the girl’s parents is one of the major milestones you will have to face together as a couple, but most importantly for you as the boyfriend. It signifies that you are committed to your partner and that you wish to become even more involved into her life than you already are. Nevertheless, it also stands for a lot of pressure on your part, since you have to make a really good impression with her folks and not ‘screw it up’. As a result, a guide to meeting your girlfriend’s parents becomes a necessary form of knowing all the dos and don’ts of such an encounter.
While many would be quick to dismiss this as just another dinner or simple visit, finally becoming acquainted with your potential in-laws is actually extremely significant, since it can even influence your relationship with your partner (either in a good or bad way, nonetheless). Moreover, if you already know that she highly values what her parents think about her romantic partner, then it becomes even more crucial to be an exemplary boyfriend when seeing them. Consequently, try to pay close attention to the following advice to ensure you are making the best fist impression you possibly can:
- Prepare beforehand – preparation is the mother of success, as they say, so try to cover as much ground as you can before actually meeting her parents. Ask your girlfriend about their workplace, personalities, humor type, special quirks, liking and disliking, etc. in order to make a general idea of who they are and how to behave around them. It is also best to know if the family situation is in any way delicate, from financial issues to whether her parents are remarried or not (so as to not mistakenly say anything out of place or inappropriate). Go a step further and inquire about some pleasant memories from the past or funny things which have happened in her childhood to then casually bring up during conversation – this will not only show them you are really interested in their daughter, but might actually come in handy when the conversation becomes stale or you run out of ‘safe’ topics to approach.
- Dress accordingly – chances are you will know about having to meet her parents some time in advance, so there is no excuse for looking anything less than decent when the moment comes. Firstly, don’t even think about wearing a flashy T-shirt or ripped jeans because you will immediately come off as immature and, thus, unfitting for their daughter. Instead (depending on the context and the season), you could very easily go for a ‘foolproof’ outfit composed out of a plain button-down shirt with dark pants and a pair of nice shoes. In addition, be sure to take a shower, as well as shave ( or trim your beard, if it’s the case) and give your hair a good combing. Don’t go crazy on the perfume either, unless you want her father to make a joke about you wearing more of it than his daughter. The trick is to look effortlessly presentable – by properly grooming yourself, you are both showing respect towards her parents and that this meeting is as important to you as it is for them.
- Be there on time – even though we live in a fast-paced world nowadays, you should definitely take care of all your arrangements prior to the day you are to become acquainted with her parents. Leave work or school earlier in order to prepare yourself (change clothes, brush your teeth, etc.) and to be certain you’ll be there on time. Of course, you can’t predict being stuck in traffic or having your car break down, but thinking about possible solutions for these situations beforehand would make you better prepared if they actually do happen. After all, arriving late will only make you seem unreliable and uninterested in meeting them – which is exactly what you want to avoid in the first place.
- Bring a gift – usually, the safest choices are a flower bouquet for the mother and a good bottle of wine for the father, but the best thing to do is first run these ideas by your girlfriend to see if they really fit with her parents’ lifestyle and preferences. Other options include a decorative item for the house or even a dish (if, for instance, you are invited over during a holiday or other celebratory time). Regardless of the occasion, you should aim to make your gift just right: not too expensive, but not too cheap either, but rather in accordance with what your girlfriend says they might like and appreciate at the same time.
- Show confidence – this one is a bit tricky, since it closely resembles a sort of social balancing act. What it means is that you should behave confident enough to not appear overly nervous or intimidated in front of her parents, still not so much as to seem cocky or arrogant. For example, show enthusiasm and security when talking about your job and future prospects, but play it down when it comes to how much you earn and what you spend on things too. More so, when you are asked about your relationship with their daughter, speak only in good terms of her and of how much you care for each other (even if you sometimes happen to disagree or fight, for example).
- Behave adequately at all times – while sometimes your first meeting with the parents might happen briefly – like when you come to pick her up for a date (especially if she still lives at home) – most ‘serious’ encounters occur over dinner, usually at their place. Consequently, you should consider being on your best behavior from all points of view, from table manners to conversational contributions and joke telling. For starters, address them using ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ (unless asked to call them otherwise), thank them for having you over, don’t forget to put your phone on silent before dinner starts (or even turn it off completely, for that matter), and carefully mind your table manners (no slurping, loud chewing, etc.). Compliment the mother’s cooking, ask her father about his hobbies, and really abstain from drinking too much alcohol if it’s being served at the table. Moreover, try to insert a few compliments whenever the situation is appropriate, but don’t exaggerate – chances are they will spot that you are trying too hard and take it as a sign of insincerity. Smile as much as possible and laugh wholeheartedly, without falling into any extreme. At the end of the meal, offer to help out with clearing the table and washing the dishes, even if there is the chance of being politely refused. In short, be constantly aware of yourself and your actions by trying to display the best possible version of yourself during those few hours spent in their company.
- Be a good conversational partner – you might not have the same interests or beliefs as her parents do, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn a casual dinner topic into a full blown debate if you are not all on the same wavelength. On the contrary – remember that you are a guest in their house and that you are aiming at making a good impression, not matter how hard the task might turn out to be. Gracefully settle any arising argument as it begins to unfold, even if it means biting your tongue; this doesn’t suggest you are lying or being deceiving, but actually mature enough to understand how social interactions work between adults. As a result, it’s best you avoid ‘dangerous’ topics such as politics, religion, income, etc. and focus on more approachable subjects like family, sports, pets, art, and information about yourself (where you work, how you get along with your parents and/ or siblings, what your plans for the future are, etc.). Also, find the ideal balance between talking about them and about your own person, to avoid seeming either too conceited or disinterested.
- Don’t lie – insincerity is very easy to spot in a person, more so through body language and word phrasing, so you should be extra careful with what you say and how you say it. If you wish to keep some things to yourself or between you and your girlfriend, try to discreetly change the subject or approach of it in such a way that it doesn’t sound blatantly uncivil. Nevertheless, if circumstances demand it, a white lie might be better instead of having an unnecessary argument over things like, let’s say, sports or personal income.
- Show extra attention to your girlfriend– even though this meeting is an occasion for you and her parents to get to know each other better, it still doesn’t allow for you to forget about your partner completely. Open the door for her when possible, pull out her chair when it’s dinner time, hold her hand (over the table at all times!), and other such small gestures, which will ultimately show you are in love and committed to your girlfriend’s happiness at all times. Nevertheless, you should really avoid getting into too much ‘public display of affection’ – after all, they are still her parents and she will forever remain their ‘little girl’, so always strive to keep it family-friendly and decent around them.
- Be ready for an ‘interrogation’ – her parents will only want the best boyfriend for their daughter, so be prepared to be thoroughly analyzed and ‘dissected’ by both of them. Most frequently, the father will be the one to ask more delicate questions, while her mother will try to avoid any tension or awkward moments. Even so, you should be courteous and humble at all times, trying not to take everything very personal. Never raise your voice or lose your temper, no matter how uncomfortable the questions might get – instead, try to answer as nicely and ‘diplomatically’ as you can, because this in itself can be a test to see how well you react to situations where you are put under pressure and scrutiny.
- Say ‘goodbye’ properly – shake the father’s hand firmly, hug her mother, thank them again for dinner, and then smile as honestly as you can (regardless of how well you consider the meeting to have gone or not). If you are leaving by car, then open the door for your girlfriend. Some say you shouldn’t turn back and wave to them (it apparently shows confidence), but it’s completely up to you in the end. Just don’t exaggerate your gestures or start complaining the second you enter the car (they will most likely notice any discontent from your part).
- Let them know you enjoyed the experience – everything said and done, it’s now time to seal a long-lasting impression on your girlfriend’s parents. Of course, the easiest way would be to have her send them your thanks whenever she talks to them over the phone or goes to visit again, but that is not going to cut it when it comes to a positive association with your person. For instance, you could send another small gift to their house (a floral arrangement, chocolate specialties, a fruit basket, etc.), alongside a handwritten ‘thank you’ note, where you specify how much you appreciate meeting them and the time you spent together. This will most definitely show you took this step seriously and are genuinely willing to see them again.
So, there you have it! These are some useful guidelines to help you in meeting your significant others parents for the first time. Nevertheless, if you still happen get nervous or anxious at any moment during this meeting (despite following all this advice), then just remember that both you and her parents are trying to understand each other, so this might be as nerve-racking for them as it is for yourself. Bottom line is they only want the best for their daughter and you could easily prove yourself to be exactly that by following the above presented tips and subsequently making a good first impression. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even end up calling them in-laws in the end!