March 6th, 2014 by Alicia Drewnicki

Meeting The Parents: A Survival Guide

MeetParents

So you’ve been dating a while, and finally your other half suggests that it’s time for you to meet the parents. “You will be completely fine, they are going to love you.” Gulp.

If you’ve watched the film “Meet The Parents,” then you may be worried about recreating one of the mishaps of Ben Stiller’s character “Gaylord Focker.” Fear not though, we have got you covered! Here are twelve steps that will help keep the parents sweet and make them love you as much as your partner already does!

1) Bring A Gift
A token gesture always goes down well and is the perfect way to make a good first impression. Something like a bunch of flowers or gourmet chocolates are always appreciated. Don’t go over the top though with something excessively lavish or bring alcohol if his parents are teetotal.

2) Dress Well
The clothes you wear will definitely leave a lasting impression – so make sure you consider this in advance. Think more Kate Middleton than Miley Cyrus. No ripped jeans, low-cut cleavage-exposing tops, nothing too tight, creased or too short. Smart casual is perfect – but lean towards the conservative side. Don’t dress like you’re going to a job interview, but at the same time, be tasteful, respectful and show that you’ve made some effort.

3) Flatter Them
Tell them you love their house, notice the unique Persian rug in the hallway and bond with the family pet. If you are allergic to cats – dose yourself up on antihistamines before you go and pat Fluffy like she’s the sweetest little fluffball you have ever seen. If Fido is trying to hump your leg – just ignore him or laugh it off and say what a “friendly, tame dog” they’ve got.

4) Ask Questions About Them
People love to talk about themselves, so if you want to keep the conversation flowing, then do your best chat show host impression and find out more about them. Ask about their hobbies, holidays or stories about when your partner was young. Avoid any sensitive or intimate questions though – if the topics could give Grandma a heart attack, then they are a no-go.

5) Offer To Help
Just because you’re a guest in the house – this does not mean you can sit there and expect to be waited on. At least offer to help when you arrive – whether this is preparing the food or clearing the table. If you’re clumsy and happen to smash one of their favourite glasses, rather than sneakily hiding the evidence or blaming the dog, just apologise and offer to buy them a new one.

6) Ask To See A Photo Album
This one always works well. If there’s one thing a mother loves, it’s getting the embarrassing baby photos out. Just make sure if there’s a birthmark in an inconspicuous place, you pretend you have not seen it before!

7) Compliment Your Other Half
“I can see where my boyfriend gets his good looks from” is always a good line. Be proud of your other half and whether it’s talking about cooking skills, intelligence, style or caring nature – his/her parents will be thrilled with your compliments!

8) No Touchy-Feely Behaviour
There’s a time and place for everything – and it’s not in front of the parents. Don’t get tempted to play footsie under the table because you might not be sure whose foot you’ll be playing with! Also avoid pinching his bum or any over the top public displays of affection. It’s awkward to watch a couple being overly affectionate in public – so imagine how much worse it is when you are watching your own child! Stay respectful and keep your hands to yourself!

9) Don’t Talk About Exes
If you start listing your exes – that will not impress any parents. They will worry that you have been around the track more times than a greyhound! So remain coy about your past romances and concentrate on your current relationship.

10) Don’t Drink Too Much
People talk about Dutch Courage, but when you’re tripping over the chair leg, flirting with your boyfriend’s Dad and insulting his Mother, you’ve gone too far! Even if the wine is flowing, know your limits and do not get carried away!

11) Avoid Awkward Conversation Topics
There are certain topics you should avoid when you first meet the family, such as religion, politics, earnings or anything too personal. If they do happen to think differently to you and say something that offends you, laugh it off and change the topic. Whatever you do – make sure you avoid ranting (until you get home!)

12) Be Yourself
Don’t try and be someone you’re not. Parents will see through an act, so if you’re putting on a fake accent, stop! Be natural, be friendly and don’t forget your manners.

So that’s it – who said meeting parents was tough? Follow these easy tips and you’ll be soon be Mama’s new favourite!

Alicia Drewnicki is a travel, fashion and lifestyle writer living in London. She's super interested in body language, exploring the world and writing about it all!

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