meeting the parents

Meeting your other half’s parents can be potentially, the most significant step in a relationship. Almost everything you do in the dating stage builds up to this moment. Most people respect their parents’ opinions and in some cases, if their parents don’t like you, it’s game over. Here are 5 simple steps to take the weight off your shoulders when meeting the parents.

Ask about them beforehand

Possibly the simplest task in helping you on your way. Each relationship is circumstantial, meaning the timing of meeting the parents could vary depending on each individual relationship. Obviously, if you are dating someone that is originally from a different part of the country – or different country entirely – the time threshold in which you would meet their family would differ from that of a national to your country of residence.

A good way to get the ball rolling would be to simply ask about their parents beforehand. That’s not to say you are any less important than previous partners. A lot of the time, if somebody trusts you enough, they’d be willing to open up about their family life. This can be an excellent to way to get a sneak peek into what their parents are really like. If you’ve already sealed the deal with said person, it is likely that – if when questioned – they could easily reel off a list of parental deal breakers.

Ask them about their family life, without necessarily delving too deep. The way they speak about their parents, and any anecdotes they have about them will be a massive aid within trying to understand their family without asking outright. Depending on how close they are to their family, they will probably openly talk about their parents without any prompts. If somebody is serious about you and their relationship, they will probably be willing to give you advice into how to win over their folks. If one has already gotten to his stage with you, it’s highly likely they’ve already considered and thought about any potential outcome in a parental meeting.

Don’t overthink it

Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Make sure nerves don’t get the better of you, otherwise you could back out before you even get the chance to prove yourself wrong. Okay, a lot of the time someone’s parents may hold the most influential opinion of you, but that’s not to say you need to make yourself physically sick with worry at the thought of meeting them.

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More often than not, it’s a lot easier done than said to meet somebody’s parents. Each relationship is different, so don’t feel inclined to base the time scale on past experiences. To someone, introducing you to their relations could be a very small step, and to others, could be a giant one. Only you personally can vouch the situation and assess the timing. For instance, in the past someone may have been very keen to integrate a romantic relationship for their own specific reason, this doesn’t mean that next time if someone is hesitant they like you any less. Everybody works at their own pace.

Basically, just don’t overthink the situation. If somebody isn’t ready to allow both sides to get together, don’t stress it, but if they seem keen, then great! Before you meet the family, it is extremely likely that they’ve spoken about you to them already, so presumably they are just as apprehensive about the first meeting as you are. Once you start to overthink every possible scenario it will make you less inclined to go through with it. It will make you less likely to be enthusiastic about it, and everybody knows, trying to force someone to do something they don’t want to only makes them want to do it less. If you really really don’t want to do it, then tell your partner up front. It is something that can’t really be avoided in a long term relationship, but rushing into it unprepared is one of the worst things you can do.

Get the balance right

The best possible outcome from this situation would be for said parents to love you from the get go. You’ve already gotten this far and managed to keep nerves at bay. Now to make them appreciate you and make them like you. Getting your whole personality across in the first meeting is almost impossible. Just remember how many dates it took for you to get to know your partner.

The parents will outright see you in a completely different light to that of your partner. You want to make sure that you don’t come across as a complete shrinking violet whilst also not being overly confident. Being friendly is a must, however a lot of the time when first meeting someone, being overly familiar can come across as arrogant. If you are completely confident in yourself then that’s a massive plus, however bear in mind that these people have known your boyfriend or girlfriend for their entire life.

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If you’ve already enquired about the parents, then you should already have some insight in how to act around your date’s mother and father. Remember, less is more. Be friendly without being overbearing, be confident without being arrogant and don’t give too much away in the first meeting. You may feel as though you are being thoroughly investigated for the whole time but they are more than likely just trying to get to know you and get to know your intentions. If you mean well, chances are they will sense this.

Don’t rush it

If a romantic partner wants you to meet their family and you don’t feel ready, don’t feel pressured into it. Depending on certain ergonomics, it can almost seem like a make or break situation. A lot of the time it is understandable if you aren’t completely ready to take this big plunge. Almost everybody holds their parents opinion to one of the highest levels, and if you’re not ready to commit to this person alone, then you are definitely not ready to commit on an even higher level – meeting the parents.

With that said, if you are just strictly “dating” and you don’t feel this is going to be anything more than a casual fling, definitely don’t go for the jugular and meet the family. Once you’ve met someone’s parents there’s almost no going back. They will always remember you, and depending on them, will probably ask about you for a while after they’ve met you. Although more often than not it may seem like a huge deal to you, it is a huge deal to them too. Ultimately they just want their precious child to meet someone that will make them happy.

Don’t be afraid to express any doubts you have with your other half, they will more than likely be understanding, especially if they haven’t met your parents either. The same can be said for the opposite situation. If you don’t feel ready for them to meet your parents, it’s definitely acceptable to wait on it a while longer. Sometimes, the thought of them meeting your parents can be even more nerve wracking than the idea of you meeting theirs. No two people are the same, so it all just depends on timing and personalities.

Be yourself

This sounds like the oldest trick in the book, but it has been tried and tested for centuries. Don’t change who you are to try and impress them. Not only are you making things even more difficult by trying to stick to some kind of percent role model, but if you are serious about your partner, then sooner or later their parents will see the real you anyway.

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It’s completely normal to want to put on this elaborate show and make the family fall at your feet, but what about a few months – or even years – later, when this perfect façade slips? It’s so much easier to go in from day one with your hands in the air, showing your intentions. Don’t put on a show to try and make them like you more than you think they will, it will only lead to disappointment in the future.

Plus, more often than not, said person will have already spoken about you to their parents anyway, and probably revealing a glimpse of your personality before you’ve even introduced yourself. It is both embarrassing and morally wrong to try and hide your true personality. Unfortunately, it is impossible to guarantee that any given person will like you, however it is a lot easier to come away from a situation being your true self than trying to put on an act and failing. If they don’t like you for who you are, then it’s possible that the problem lies with them and not you. At least at the end of the day, you have nothing to hide.

With all this taken into account, you should be well on your way to securing a place within the family. Sadly there is no way to guarantee that someone will definitely like you. If you feel disappointed in yourself after the first meeting, don’t let it beat you up. There will be plenty of opportunities within future meetings to try and redeem yourself. You may never get a second chance at a first impression, but everything takes time. If your partner is as serious about you as you are about them, they won’t allow their parents opinion to dominate the way they feel about you. Don’t make the in laws you main focus, especially not after the first meeting. If they really do want their child to be happy, and they can see them getting this happiness from you they will allow you to grow on them.

Olivia is a freelance writer residing in the North of England. She enjoys the outdoors and nature documentaries, especially ones about marine biology. Although she loves writing about dating, her main passion lies within scriptwriting.

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