“How soon is too soon to meet the parents?” someone asked the other day.
My friend E would probably argue that you should at least be dating the guy before you have to make that decision.
She turned up at a – ahem – friend’s house late one night for what was, by all accounts, a textbook booty call.
He had invited her over to stay. She rocked in at 11pm after dinner with the girls to find not only her bonk-buddy sitting on the couch, but his father as well.
One wants to be fully prepared when meeting the parents. It should be a little more formal than just, “This is E, we’re off to bed.”
Introducing a new beau to the family is a significant milestone. Not every relationship makes it to meet-the-parents stage.
And nor should it. Your family and your partner might actually turn out to like each other very much. It’s not fair on either of them to introduce a new person into the fold if you’re not serious about them.
Making everyone go through the awkward discomfort of job-interview-meets-first-date, then letting them get attached before deciding the relationship is over on a whim? Not cool.
You’re setting yourself up for failure too. Forevermore, you’ll hear about “What happened to Michelle? We really like her,” and “Steve’s okay, I guess, but I liked Ryan more.”
Parents love me. I go out of my way to make sure of it.
My man, who sadistically likes to watch me squirm sometimes, took great pleasure in telling me how I would never make it past the parental approvals in his house. I was the wrong religion, the wrong culture and plus? His parents had a track record of not liking anyone.
Guess what? I nailed it. It’s not necessarily easy to win parents over, but it’s well worth the effort, if only to make your romantic life easier.
Top tips for impressing the future in-laws include doing your research – check first with your partner about whether there’s anything they think you should know beforehand about their family. Get the full story about what they do, what they like, what they don’t like and act accordingly.
Arrive gift in hand – you generally can’t go wrong with flowers, wine or chocolate. Some people shirk the idea of trying too hard, but there’s really no such thing. Rebelling against parental authority is not cool. You need to woo them.
Watch your wardrobe. Cleavage and profanity-emblazoned t-shirts are a no-go.
Once on the ground, act confident, be natural with your partner and show them you care for their son or daughter. They’ll watch every movement with eagle eyes, trying to decipher you and your relationship.
Give good conversation and ask lots of questions. Leave them with a firm handshake or a hug, and sincere thanks for their hospitality.
And finally? As you walk down the driveway at the end of the night, don’t look back. You know if you do, they’ll be watching.