Meeting the parents is a major event, especially if you’re madly in love with the woman in your life and you’re starting to see her as potential wife material.
If you’re experiencing some anxiety and apprehension about your first rendezvous with her folks, don’t be alarmed. Feeling nervous about meeting mom and dad is completely normal.
After all, this is a big step in your relationship. Sure, you should take measures to make a good impression, but there’s no need to get in a tizzy over your upcoming get-together.
Here are the 10 rules for meeting her parents:
1. Dress to impress.
This should go without saying, but so many guys miss this crucial point. Show up looking sharp, showered and shaved.
You don’t need to go and rent a tux, but you shouldn’t show up in a stained T-shirt, flip-flops or raggedy jeans that sag below your butt cheeks either.
2. Meet at a neutral place.
For the first meeting, choose a locale that is conducive to great conversation, but be sure to get together somewhere other than mom and dad’s.
If you go to a public place, you meet as equals. If you show up to their house, you’re already in a one-down position.
3. Bring a gift for mom, a firm handshake for dad.
Flowers are the perfect way to greet your gal’s mother. Women love these kinds of gestures.
When you meet dad, look him in the eye, give him a confident handshake, and introduce yourself with a first and last name.
“You want her ma and pa to
get to know the real you.”
4. Pick up the tab.
Absolutely insist on paying for your meal or coffee shop visit. You may want to let the waiter know in advance that you plan to pay (in private, of course).
That way, he will bring you the check and there won’t be any awkwardness about who should pick up the tab.
5. Stay away from talk of politics.
Talk of politics has the potential to position you as public enemy number one if you offer what they perceive to be the “wrong” opinion.
If her parents steer the conversation in that direction, do your best to cleverly avoid giving up too many opinions. Instead, ask “What do you think?” and use their answers as a compass to determine how to move forward.
6. Praise their princess.
Be sure to tell them how much you care about their daughter and what a pleasure it has been to get to know her.
Tell them how the two of you met, and offer a few stories about fun times you’ve shared together.
7. Assure them that you plan to be around a while.
This lets them know you aren’t a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” kind of guy and that your intentions with their daughter are sincere.
8. Be prepared to talk about yourself.
Dads are good for this one! Deliver a brief and humble speech about who you are and what you represent.
Highlight all your masculine qualities — you are a veteran, you went to college on a football scholarship, you are a big hockey fan. Chances are, you’ll mention something dad can relate to and you’ll be bonding in no time.
9. Don’t drink booze.
No matter what. Even if your girlfriend’s mother and father are the party type and encourage you to drink with them, don’t do it.
Explain that you are the designated driver for the evening and you’ll be transporting precious cargo later (aka their little girl). Tell them you’re not willing to risk an accident. Being sober keeps you in control.
10. Be yourself but less is more.
Don’t get so comfortable that you begin rattling on about this or that, and be sure you don’t dominate the conversation. In addition to sharing information about yourself, encourage communication that focuses on mom and dad.
Remember, this meeting isn’t all about them getting to know you. This is also an opportunity for you to get to know them in the hopes that you can forge a positive, long-term relationship.
So there you have it — the key components of proper etiquette for your first meeting with the parents. No matter the outcome, if you follow this protocol, you can at least walk away from the evening knowing you did your best.
Remember to relax and be yourself. After all, you want her ma and pa to get to know the real you, the guy their daughter fell in love with, not an imposter.