Meeting your significant other’s parents is a very stressful experience. Here are a few tips to help you get through and ensure it runs smoothly.
In June, I traveled to Chicago to meet my boyfriend’s parents, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t very nervous. As someone who comes from a big family, I know how scary and overwhelming it can be to walk into a room and be the center of attention and the newbie!
Also, having had three older siblings bring home significant others, I know firsthand what things to do and what not to do based on my parents’ reactions, which have helped me get ready to meet the parents.
Just like first dates, meeting parents for the first time can really contribute to overthinking and relationship anxiety, but don’t worry, you are not alone; here are some helpful tips to go prepared and hopefully with a little more ease.
Communicate With Your Partner Ahead Of Time
If you are like me and tend to be very VERY shy when first meeting people, communicate with your partner and tell them that you are nervous about meeting their family. If anything, it just shows that you care and want it to go well!
Your partner should understand and hopefully help ease some of that anxiety, whether by helping with the conversation or reassuring you throughout the day to help build some confidence in the process.
Dressing appropriately doesn’t mean dressing like a nun or sacrificing your personal style; it simply means wearing an outfit that looks classy while still being comfy and staying true to who you are.
When meeting your significant other’s parents, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of modesty and refrain from showing a ton of skin. Midi skirts, block heels or flats, and basic tops are perfect for putting together an outfit your partner’s parents will love while still feeling cute and comfortable! For more style tips check out my blog post on what to wear when meeting the parents for the first time.
As basic as it may sound, engaging in conversation and asking questions will help any introduction. Even for those who are shy (me!), try to ask questions to get to know each family member. And if you are shy and don’t like being the center of attention, then asking more questions about the family members works out better for you!
Gifts Are Always Appreciated
If you are staying at their home or visiting their home, consider bringing a bottle of wine as a gift. Showing up with some sort of token of appreciation for hosting is always a great way to end your first visit.
If you cook or bake, consider bringing a dessert to contribute. If not, you can always send something afterward to show your appreciation, whether it is something unique to their liking or sending flowers. These gifts will be appreciated by any host, especially your significant other’s parents.
Be Polite And Offer To Help When You Can
It may sound cliche, but asking your partner’s parents if there is anything you can do to help or offering to help clean up after dinner is always a good thing to do! If you get there while dinner is still being prepped, ask if there is anything you can do to help prepare dinner. They may say no, but the offer will be appreciated. And of course, say thank you as much as possible!
Go With The Flow
This is the hardest tip that requires a lot of skill to read the room. I remember watching the Family Stone and cringing at Jessica Parker’s character, who could not just simply not go with the flow or pick up on queues to stop talking about herself more than engaging in conversation.
As blunt as it may sound, being able to go with the flow of the conversation, adding in when you genuinely have something to offer, and listening when others are speaking is a sure way to help assimilate into the family. You may be the type who gets nervous and overshares but again, the best way to engage is to ask others questions. ASK about your partner growing up and ask their relatives about their work, hobbies, interests, etc.
Above all else, your significant other’s parents want to know that their child is with somebody who is kind, caring, and supportive. So make sure you offer lots of compliments, whether it is for the delicious meal they made or complimenting how welcoming they have been during your stay and complimenting your partner!
It is hard to meet new people, especially your partner’s loved ones, so don’t be too hard on yourself during the visit. Just remember to be kind, go with the flow, and enjoy spending time with your significant other and getting to know those who raised them!