Tis’ the season for meetings the parents! During the holiday season, family events abound. If you’re part of a new couple this means that you’re likely getting ready to meet your meaningful other’s parents, or at the very least wondering whether you should. Although every family is different, meeting your guy or girl’s parents is a situation that shouldn’t be taken lightly. To make the event as fun and stress free as possible, here are a few tips to keep in mind –
1. Don’t ambush – If your meaningful other hasn’t brought up meeting their parents this holiday season, or you’ve only been dating a short amount of time, DO NOT plan a surprise attack of your own. Purposely trying to “bump into” your date’s family or planning a surprise visit is a recipe for disaster. Respect your date’s judgement that he or she will introduce you to his family when the time is right.
2. Discuss it as a couple – When it comes to meeting someone’s family, communication is key which is why it’s important to discuss it as a couple beforehand. Ask your partner questions about their parent’s interests so you can make conversation and if there are any hot button topics that you should avoid when meeting them.
3. Respect differences – However, with that said, don’t be offended if your partner says that it’s not a good time to meet the family. Although a lot of family are pretty laid back about meeting the person their son or daughter is dating, others take it very, very seriously. In some cultures, introducing your partner to your parents indicates an intention to get married! Also, other families prefer to have some holiday events “family only.” If there is a valid reason why meeting the parents isn’t a good idea at this time, respect your partner’s wishes.
4. Dress appropriately – That faded T-Shirt you scored for free at a marathon in 2006 or that backless tank-top you love so much – these do not belong anywhere near your date’s parents. Guys, you don’t have to wear a suit to meet her parents (unless the event is formal) but do dress nicely. Even if you’re wearing jeans, a collared shirt is always a nice touch! Ladies, keep it classy. This means don’t dress like you’re going to the club. Keep your cleavage under wraps, avoid super tight clothing & don’t show too much skin.
5. Mind your manners – This should be common sense for all of us, but this needs to be mentioned anyways. Always remember to say please and thank you, and offer help whenever needed.
6. Ask questions about their interests – They’re undoubtedly have questions for you, however when you’re not answering them make sure you ask them things about themselves – i.e. what kinds of hobbies they enjoy, where they have travelled recently etc. Make it all about them, not you.
7. Listen and don’t dominate the conversation – Share things about yourself so that they’re able to get to know you, but don’t dominate the conversation. Listen actively and ask them follow up questions about the things they’re interested in.
8. Stay away from heated topics – When meeting someone’s family for the first time, it’s best to avoid potentially heated topics like politics and religion.
9. Compliment them – If you love their home or you think the food is amazing – let them know! Everyone likes to hear positive feedback. Just be sincere – you don’t want to come off as fake or as a suck up.
10. Say thank you – Thank them for inviting them into their family and for the time you spent together. Why? Because gratitude rocks.