Being in the right relationship makes your life so much better. It isn’t 100% sunshine and roses, but having a special someone in your life is so worth it. That being said, getting to know their family can be really nerve-wracking.
Even if you already knew their parents before you started dating, meeting them for the first time after starting a relationship gives it a whole new edge. I can’t say exactly why it can be so hard to get over the nerves when you’re meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. All I know is that when I first met my significant other’s parents, I felt like I was going to throw up.
Even if your partner has awesome parents, it’s still hard to get over the nerves of coming face to face with them. Subconsciously you worry they won’t like you, which sucks. When you’re serious about being with someone, it hurts a little if the people they care about don’t like you.
Luckily, you can do some little things to help soothe your nerves and make things easier when you finally come face to face with the parents.
Prepare ahead of time
Is there anything special you should know about your partner’s parents? Any topics they don’t like talking about or special circumstances you need to be aware of? Ask your partner beforehand! Knowing a little bit about their parents can help make them less scary to face the first time, and you may even find you have things in common.
Even if you don’t have much in common, it can still help knowing about them so you have something you can talk about. Or you can be prepared to answer the questions they are most likely to ask about you. Does your partner think their parents will be interested in hearing about your job? What about your hobbies or what school you went to?
Knowing what you’re getting into can help make the first time you meet them easier for everyone and even a little less awkward. First impressions can also make your relationship with them go more smoothly in the long run too. Knowing more about them, like their favorite things, can help you prepare a small gift too. Buttering them up a little never hurts.
If you’ve asked your partner but still don’t know what to get their parents, you can always check out Huffpost’s curated list that will be sure to knock their socks off.
Learn about their interests
Asking your partner about their parents’ interests can help you talk with them more easily when your significant other is out of the room (which will happen inevitably). Being able to talk to them about something will make things less awkward for you and will probably make them like you a little more too.
Showing them that you took the time and effort to learn about them might even make them a little more kind to you. It’s a way to show them that you care enough about their child to make an effort to get to know them.
It sounds a bit cliché to tell you to just be yourself, but that doesn’t make it any less crucial. Pretending to be someone you’re not is uncomfortable and rarely works out in your favor. You have to keep track of all the little lies you tell and keep up a persona that isn’t the person your partner cares about.
Of course, for the first few visits, you should be the best version of yourself. You’ll probably want to keep cursing to a minimum, dress a little nicer, and be respectful. You shouldn’t pretend to like things you don’t or lie about your accomplishments either, though. Just try to focus on putting your best foot forward.
Even if you feel a little awkward and have to make some minor changes to get through the first visit more smoothly, it will be worth it in the end. The longer you know them, the more they’ll get to know you so you can slowly reveal the parts of yourself you held back at first.
What is most important
Even if you’re unprepared for the first time you meet your partner’s parents, that’s okay. There are still things you should keep in mind that are more important than remembering their favorite music or memorizing a list of questions they’re most likely to ask.
Showing them you respect them and their child is one of the most important things you can and should do no matter what. Using some sort of title like Mr. and Mrs. (unless they ask you to call them something else) and giving them compliments are both big signs of respect. You’ll also want to hold back on teasing your partner too much in front of them until they know you better.
It’s all fun and games to call your partner silly names in private, but in the wrong company, around people you don’t know, some inside jokes can sound rude and even toxic. My partner and I still laugh about the time we quoted a Key & Peele skit to each other out of habit around some of my friends. I had to hastily explain the joke in private after some very strange and concerned looks.
Another way to win brownie points is by offering to help out with small tasks during your visit. It’s hard to dislike someone who volunteers to take out the trash or clear the dinner table.
Show them how much you care for their son/ daughter
You definitely want to show them respect, but your number one priority should always be your significant other. Speaking well of them, talking about how proud you are of their accomplishments, and even boasting about how amazing they are will usually put you in their parents’ good graces.
If you can change the conversation topic to the one person you for sure have in common, it also makes things a little bit easier on you. Parents usually won’t pass up the chance to hear about how great their kid is.
If you’re okay with opening yourself up, another idea to really impress your partner and their parents is to write a poem about your partner (usually works best for things like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Moms will swoon with memories of romance, and dads will respect that you really do care about their child.
If you don’t know how to write poems, don’t worry! We’ve got an article to help get you started.
Just in case
If, by some chance, the meeting doesn’t go well, it doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship. The most important thing in a relationship will always be how you and your partner make each other feel. You can’t win over everyone, unfortunately. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if your partner and their parents don’t have a great relationship in the first place.
What matters is that you genuinely tried to be on good terms with them. Good parents will try to be on good terms with you too. They might give you a little bit of a hard time at first, but they just want what is best for their kid. If you make your partner happy, their parents will realize that you are what’s best for them… Eventually.
What do you think is the hardest part about meeting your significant other’s parents?
[…] Meeting your partner’s family for the first time is important but slightly terrifying. First impressions make a world of difference. You may be a people person and love meeting new people. Lucky you. Maybe you’re an introvert whose skin crawls from the idea of meeting thirty new people in one day. Whatever the case, do your best in the wise words of Yoda. “Do or do not. There is no try.” And if your partner is coming home with you, please give them a heads up for challenges they might encounter at your parent’s house. Maybe your partner has never experienced Hanukkah or Noche Buena before you. Break down any traditions you might have so your partner isn’t lost in the chaos of the holidays. […]