Want to feel like a poodle at the Westminster dog show? Then go and meet your boyfriends’ parents. There are few times in your life when you’ll feel more scrutinized than that first meeting with the family of your new love.
But take heart, if you follow a few basic tips, you can make a great impression and turn a tricky task into a great success.
Tips To Impress Your Boyfriend’s Parents
#1. Dress like you care
How the girl grooms herself and how she dresses will be important for this meeting. When thinking about what to wear, be less concerned with looking glamorous and more considerate of your boyfriend’s family.
Don’t wear sexy clothes. Don’t completely ignore your own style, but make sure whatever you wear is clean, pressed, coördinated and attractive. Think about what your boyfriend’s parents would consider well dressed and dress yourself accordingly.
His parents’ will get a positive first impression even as you walk through the door. As a bonus, they’ll realize that you’ve made an effort to consider their feelings in preparing for this meeting.
#2. Bring a small gift
If it’s appropriate, bring a small hostess gift for your boyfriend’s mother. This gesture shows your appreciation of the work she’s done to host you, and she will see you as a considerate, thoughtful and polite woman.
Ask your boyfriend what she likes – candles, daisies, chocolates? Don’t bring an extravagant gift, which may seem show-off-y.
#3. Listen, listen, listen
During the conversation, use good listening strategy. Ask questions of your hosts and really listen to the answers. Show your interest and ask follow on questions. It’s OK to inject your own similar experiences, but don’t rattle on about yourself.
Instead, try to find common ground between your life and theirs. For example, if they always vacation at a certain place, maybe your family has been there as well and you can share good memories together.
People gravitate toward others they see as similar to them, so if you can find common ground with your boyfriend’s parents, they will start to see you as one of them.
#4. Be truthful but modest about yourself
Your guy’s family will want to ask you questions about yourself, your job and your family. When you answer, don’t just say “yes” or “no.” Provide an answer with specifics, but don’t dwell on any one subject.
Avoid crowing about recent achievements or making a big deal about your talents. You can be sure that your boyfriend has already told them how amazing you are. Your job is to be humble.
#5. Don’t overdo the drinks
If your boyfriend and his parents drink, and they offer you wine or a cocktail, it’s fine to accept. But know your limits. If one drink is enough to make you tipsy, stick with the non-alcoholic libations. Even if you can hold your liquor well, don’t have more than two drinks.
When you can drink with constraint, your boyfriend’s parents will see you as mature and responsible.
#6. Leave the romance outside
Nobody wants to watch a couple make out. Especially his parents. Even clinging to each other, calling each other pet names or leaning on each other can be a bit much, especially if you two are not yet talking marriage. It’s OK to touch his arm or briefly take his hand, but don’t get too physical.
Don’t discuss your amorous activities either. His mother doesn’t want to know if he’s a good kisser. If you talk about a recent date, don’t describe how great breakfast in bed was the next day.
#7. Avoid competition
Remember that you are meeting people who have known and cared for your boyfriend longer than you. If they tell you that he hates olives and you have personally watched him stuff six at time in his mouth, don’t even bother correcting them. Meeting his parents is not the time to prove that you are the expert in their son.
They will have different ideas about who he is and he may still be their little boy. Rather than shattering their illusions, let them introduce you to the son they know. They’ll love sharing with you, and you will become allies and not competitors.
#8. Have a good time
You may prefer spending an evening with grouchy hedgehogs over dinner with his parents, but if you can find a way to enjoy yourself, it’ll make a great impression. Happy, relaxed people make others around them feel good. If his mom and dad are at ease, they will more likely draw positive conclusions about you.
The best way to have a good time is to be yourself and let your natural curiosity and good nature guide you to finding happiness in the day. However, if you’re having trouble finding something to enjoy, see if you can find your boyfriend’s best traits mirrored in his family.
Does he laugh like his dad? Does he have the same funny hand gestures as his mom? Focus on any positives you can find and you’ll relax naturally.
When you’re lucky enough to find a great connection with a guy, you will inevitably meet his family. The idea might send shivers down your spine, but remember, he thinks you both make a great couple. With a little attention to detail, they will too.