This week you will probably meet the parents. Wowser! This can be life giving or death for your relationship. I wish I could say it easier but this is a huge, personal interview with the toughest critics. You are may be entering the nuthouse. Well, it may not be that bad but the visit can have its pressures and expectations. Most will say be yourself but I say present your
better self. As I review this post, I question my top 10 List because the topics seem like excerpts from Dating for Dummies. Remember those books. It doesn’t matter what I think about the list it is more like what we do on this date, which needs to be discussed because I still hear single and married people epically failing. So let’s review my Meet the Parents Success List.
Dress the Part
- Clean clothing, wash your hair, clip your nails, wear an outfit that fits the occasion, shave, possibly lose the baseball cap, if you have to shop before hand that’s okay! Invest in your impression.
No Foul Language
- Well all I can say is refrain from dropping curse words on the first few visits until you get to know the parents. You may curse in public, with your friends and at work but try to hold back and “Stay Classy”. This little step may put you above the rest of the other partners who have failed before you.
Distraction Free Zone
- You may hate my cell phone policy but it is SUPER DUPER important to put down your device and really tune into conversations around you.
Avoid Hot Topics
- Big one this year. I would try to steer away from politics but this could be very hard to avoid so if asked about Trump’s win or Hillary’s defeat try to keep you opinion short, general and move on. DON’T hog the mic for 30 minutes on the election. You will not win their vote.
- Libations will most likely be present at this momentous event so enjoy but don’t become the stupid guest that nobody wants around. If you are an lightweight, know your limit and if you are the heavy drinker be polite and leave some drinks in their frig before you say good-bye. Also, people may look at food so monitor your servings. There is always a fast food joint not far to grab some extra grub after the date.
- Depending on the situation, you may want to bring flowers, dessert, or a meal item. You can take cues from your partner but even if they say don’t worry about it I would bring something. It never hurts even if it is a something small.
Use Your Manners
- Yes, we are adults but we tend to forget that we are guests and these people are not our family so be your betterself! If you grew up in a mannerless house, go back and remember your school rules like respect, empathy, responsibility, etc. Those simple standards may secure you another invite.
Leave Your Strong Opinions At the Door
- People are different. That’s what makes us beautiful. As you are in the presence of new parents, go with the flow, keep your preconceived notations to yourself and welcome them with an open mind because they opened their home to you. Even if your partner hates their parents, you must stay neutral for at least the duration of the visit. Also don’t start a fire unless asked to start a real one to keep warm. You are their guest so blend into the situation, respect the space and hold your tongue until you are driving home then you can word vomit about the whole date.
Know Your Host
- Prepare for this moment: Before arriving to the party, get a run down about the parents and family members. You may ask your partner how their parents like to be introduced and relationship status. Maybe titles will come up like Mr. & Mrs., first names, etc. Try to get the preferred titles. With your partner, you may want to review the information a week before and mentally take notes.
- Greeting: This is a charm thing. When greeting parents, smile, stand up and introduce yourself with confidence. Make sure they can hear your name and feel you can support your partner through thick and thin with your body language, verbal skills and love. You may want to hold hands, hold the door, take off your partner’s coat or show some caring action in front of the parents in the first few minutes. Be present right from the start.
- During: Since you have collected some information on the parents, you can talk about them. It is always impressive when you can start a conversation about their favorite hobby or a recent trip. First, it throws the spotlight on them, you don’t have to talk about you and they feel you are interested in their life. People love to talk about themselves so start off your visit on a positive with shifting the focus to your host. If there is a dinner involved, be a helping hand in the kitchen, maybe put dishes on the table or assist in the clean up. If you are getting grilled with personal questions, keep your responses short, sweet and not too deep. You can also develop a code word for “give me a break”. The word or phrase can help remove pressure when surrounded.
- Wrap Up: Say your thank yous and respond to handshakes or hugs. Then review. You want to leave as the one who presented respect, labeled as a good listen and easy company.
- Well, you secured the Meet the Parent date. Go You! The most important thing while visiting is Be Yourself! Smile, talk, breath and enjoy.
- If you are like Billy Joel dating an uptown girl, really concentrate on your P & Qs and if it is more an informal vibe relax and go from there. Remember your partner likes you enough to meet their partners so trust and follow their lead. You got this.
If you have read all of this post and said this doesn’t apply to you, read again. Every individual needs to practice personal skills in stressful situations so if this is the thousandth time with the parents or the first time try to be your better self. Also, these are just guidelines that I value so you can add or disagree. I am okay with that. Oh yes, have fun this holiday season with Meeting the Parents!