So, the dreaded milestone has been put in place and your ears ring with the words, ‘my parents really want to meet you!’ Dun dun duuun! You know you can’t avoid them for long (if you’re considering dating for any reasonable amount of time, that is) but how do you go about it? Dad’s can be pretty darn scary at first! We’ve pieced together a few tips to ‘wow’ your girlfriend’s parents from the get-go!
1) Bring their mother a bunch of flowers, or give them both a bottle of wine if you’re eating with them. Make sure you ask your partner if their parents drink first though.
2) Shake their father’s hand firmly. He wants someone who can protect his daughter, just like he has.
3) Tell them how much you’ve been looking forward to meeting them, and about how lucky you are to be with their daughter. They sure think you are, and they want to hear you feel the same.
4) Turn down the PDA. No parent wants to see their daughter being groped or French kissed in front of them. Holding hands or the occasional I’m-proud-to-be-with-you kiss on the cheek is okay, but anything more and your girlfriend’s father is guaranteed to start staring you down.
5) Find out a few of their interests or hobbies beforehand. Being able to share a common interest with your partner’s father is a great icebreaker, and bridges the age gap between you.
6) Use your manners, and show them that chivalry is still very much alive. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ eat with your cutlery the right way round, keep your elbows off the table, and if there are any doors in sight, hold them open for the ladies.
7) Dress relatively smart. Wearing your board shorts with underwear on show really won’t make them feel confident about you.
8) Offer to pay for dinner, or for a round of drinks. They’re likely to kindly refuse you, but it shows that you are polite and financially stable (even if you’re a poor student). At the very least, don’t let your girlfriend pay for anything she eats or drinks while you’re in their company.
9) Don’t just talk about yourself the whole time. Sure, they’ll have questions to ask you (How did you two meet? What are you studying? What are your career aspirations? Are you close to your own parents?) But make sure you ask them lots too. This shows you have an interest in getting to know them, and that you’re not planning on leaving anytime soon.
10) Act as confident as you can, without seeming arrogant. It’s normal to feel a little shy at first, especially when you’re aiming to impress, but just relax and try to be yourself. If you’re over-thinking your answers too much, you’ll come across as unsure or weirdly shy.
11) Focus on your good points. There’s plenty of time for them to find out about your occasional rowdy night outs with the boys, but for now, all they want to hear is how you play on that sports team, or about that charity you volunteered at.
12) Finally, remember that if they seem a little intimidating, it’s probably just because they care about their daughter’s welfare. They want nothing more than for her to be happy, healthy and treated well by you. So just be your wonderful self, and show them how lucky she is to be with you, too! It won’t be long until you feel as comfortable around them as she does. And even if you walk away feeling like her parents are monsters, don’t mention this to your girlfriend.