In any relationship, there are a few really important and exciting milestones – your first anniversary, the first time you say, “I love you,” your first holiday together, and of course, the inevitable meeting of the parents. Meeting your new boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents is a scary ordeal. You want to impress them and prove that you’re worthy of being with their incredible son or daughter. You always want to get along with them so you can look forward to future family gatherings. Here are a few ways you can ensure the meeting is as smooth and successful as possible.
Do your research.
It won’t hurt to know a little bit of insider information before the big night. Ask your partner about their parents, but don’t turn it into an interrogation. Find out where they’re from, what they’re like, and what they’re interested in. Coming armed with a bit of information will mean you can ask them interesting questions and avoid certain topics if needed. Plus, if mom hates miniskirts, now is the time to know!
Come armed with a gift.
They’ll definitely be impressed with your knowledge of etiquette if you bring a gift with you, especially if you’re having dinner at their home. Bring a nice bottle of wine, some flowers, or maybe some home-baked treats for dessert. Bringing something with you is sure to win you some early bonus points. If you bring your favourite wine or something you’ve made yourself, this gift can also serve as a great talking point, and will be an opportunity for you to share some of your interests with them.
Be your (most polite) self and don’t try too hard.
Be yourself*. Your new boyfriend or girlfriend likes you for being you, and the best way to win over her parents will be to let them see the real you. There’s no need to overplay your accomplishments or underplay anything you’re not so proud of. If you relax and let the conversation flow naturally as it would if you were out with your friends, you won’t risk coming across as fake or off-putting.
*Note: Take this advice with a grain of salt! If you’re prone to inappropriate jokes or filling your speech with expletives, maybe hold off on these aspects of your personality for the first meeting.
Go easy on the wine.
Following on from the warning at the end of our first point, do go easy on the alcohol. While a few glasses of wine will certainly lower your inhibitions and help you to relax throughout a nerve-racking evening, there would be nothing worse than getting black-out drunk in front of your partner’s parents. Keep your wits about you by holding off on that third glass! If tonight goes well, there will be plenty of time for partying with the parents further down the line.
Mind your manners at the dinner table.
Harry and William are already taken, so the chances you’re dining with the Queen on this occasion are minimal. However, it still won’t hurt to be mindful of your manners. Simple things like eating tidily, placing your napkin on your lap, offering to pour water for the table, and using your cutlery correctly will make a real impression on your partner’s parents. Most people of their generation will think that table manners are of real importance. It will have been drilled into them as children, so they will notice your grasp of (or lack of) manners and etiquette.
Offer to pay for your share of the meal (if you’re at a restaurant).
Remember your manners and offer to pay for your half. In the same way that it’s polite on a first date, offer to chip in for the meal if you’re eating out. While they’ll likely magnanimously refuse, while throwing in a light-hearted jibe at your comparatively empty pockets, they will always appreciate the gesture. It shows tact, respect, and consideration to offer to pay for your share, and these are all qualities that they will be pleased to see in you.
Ask them about them.
It’s natural to want to impress the parents of your significant other. You may think that you need to boast about how great you are to come across well, but the best way to really impress is to show off your maturity. The best way to come across as an adult is to act like one. Remember that while you’re meeting two people from another generation, they are just people. When you meet people for the first time, you ask them about their lives and their stories. You’ll do much more to impress the parents by asking them questions than by monologuing about your accomplishments. By taking an interest in them as people, you’ll come across as a considerate, caring young person, and what more could they want for their child?
Send a thank you card or gift.
Sending a thank you card or gift a day or two after your meal will really make you stand out as a keeper for their son or daughter. Companies like GiftTree offer same-day delivery or quick delivery on a wide range of well-priced thank you gifts. GiftTree offers just about everything. You could opt for a standard thank you gift such as a gift basket with a bottle of wine or flowers, or you could take a look at some of their more unique options that will suit anyone, including tea, plants, chocolates, and candles. Sending a thoughtful thank you gift will be a lovely surprise they are sure to appreciate.
Armed with these tips, your first time meeting the parents is sure to go off without a hitch. Just remember to relax, to enjoy yourself, and most importantly, to make sure they have a good time. Hopefully, after a successful first meeting, you’ll get to know them more and more, and soon enough, a meal with the parents will be like a meal with your own family.