A Foolproof Guide to Meeting the Parents
Here’s a quick joke:
A young man goes into a drug store to buy condoms. The pharmacist asks how many condoms the young man wants.
“Well,” the young man says. “I’ve been seeing this girl for a while. I’m meeting her parents for the first time tonight, and I’ve got a feeling I’m gonna get lucky after that. Once she’s had me, she’ll want me all the time, so you’d better give me the 12 pack.”
“That’s nice,” the pharmacist says. The young man makes his purchase and leaves.
Later that evening, the young man shows up at his girlfriend’s parents’ house and meets his girlfriend at the door. “Oh, I’m so excited for you to meet my parents,” she says. “Come on in!”
The young man goes inside and is taken to the dinner table where the girl’s parents are seated. He quickly offers to say grace and bows his head. Five minutes pass, and the young man is still deep in prayer, with his head down. Finally, his girlfriend leans over and whispers, “I had no idea you were this religious.”
The young man turns and whispers back, “I have no idea your father was a pharmacist!”
The moral of the story? Find out your significant other’s parents’ line of work before meeting them… and always be discreet when buying contraceptives!
If you learn that your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s father isn’t a pharmacist, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. You could run into so many other types of disastrous scenarios. The more prepared you are, the more likely your name will end up in their next holiday newsletter followed with “the best thing to have ever happened to our baby”.
Meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time can be a daunting enough experience without doing anything Gaylord Focker-esque. If you’ve been with someone for a while, that person might have already laid the groundwork by telling his or her parents how wonderful you are. Now it’s time for you to add a face to your name and live up to the hype.
Pretty nerve-wracking, isn’t it?
Don’t worry. First impressions don’t always last forever. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to win them over when you first meet them. Take a look at the following tips on how to earn your significant other’s parents’ seal of approval. By the time you finish this foolproof guide Gaylord Focker wished he had before he met Pam’s father, you’ll be eagerly counting down the days until the big meeting!
Gather some dirt on the parents.
Ask your significant other to provide information on his or her family. How many siblings does he or she have? Are the parents conservative or liberal? Are they serious or do they have a sense of humor? What are their hobbies? Are there any sensitive topics you should avoid? The more information you know about the parents, the more you can prepare yourself to meet their expectations.
Get your stories straight.
Did you meet your significant other on Craigslist? Did your first date consist of endless drinking and dirty dancing? If there’s an element of your relationship you feel the parents won’t be too pleased about, find out from your significant other whether or not he or she told them about it. It’s possible that he or she made up a few things. Get the scoop to ensure that your stories line up.
Create a 30-second summary of your career.
99.9% of the time, the parents will ask you what you do for a living. You want to clearly describe your career (or plans for the future) without going on and on about yourself. Create a 30-second summary on what you do (or plan to do) for living. They will be impressed by how dedicated you are to your work or plans, and if they want to know more, they’ll ask.
Prepare to be interviewed.
The parents are going to be curious about you. They’ll ask you about your family, goals, hobbies, beliefs, and anything else they can think of. List the questions you think they might ask you, and come up with an impressive answer for each one.
Clean yourself up.
Very few parents actually want their child to date a slob. Groom yourself. Shave, do your hair, put on deodorant, and dress to impress.
Bring a small present.
If you’re invited to dinner, bring a nice gift, such as a bottle of wine, home baked goods, or a nice candle. First, ask your significant other if there’s anything you should avoid bringing, like a box of chocolates if the mother is diabetic.
Respect your significant other.
Treating your significant other with the utmost respect is almost a surefire way to get the parents’ seal of approval. Pull your girlfriend’s chair out for her when she’s about to sit down. Compliment your boyfriend on a recent accomplishment. Pay attention to everything your significant other says, and respond politely and respectfully.
Remember your manners!
Be on time. Say “please” and “thank you”. Address the parents as “Mr. and Mrs.” Mind your table manners: sit up straight, eat with your mouth closed, use your napkin, hold your fork properly, and ask for food to be passed instead of reaching for it. Make yourself useful and offer to help with something.
Bond with the mother.
Here’s a secret: your significant other’s mother is your ally. She’s the one who will invite you over for dinner. She’s the one who will tell everybody else what a catch you are. If you’re a guy, she’s the one who will defend you if you get on her husband’s bad side. She’s the one who will listen to your significant other’s woes if you two run into any problems, and she’s the one who will encourage your significant other to make amends with you. She is definitely someone you want on your side.
That doesn’t mean you should continuously empty-mindedly compliment your significant other’s mother on her earrings, home décor, or cooking. Instead, put on your best manners and engage in conversations with her. If you’re not offering to help with the dishes after dinner, ask about her prize-winning garden, tell her how you used to be fluent in French, or show her pictures of your artwork.
If you want to really wow her, listen to what she is saying, and then follow up on it later. For example, if your significant other’s mother tells you that she’s been looking for the perfect beef stew recipe, surprise her with the recipe for your aunt’s famous beef stew next time you see her.
Don’t ignore the father.
Just because the mother is your ally doesn’t mean you should ignore the father. Find out beforehand what his interests are and then ask him about them. For example, if he’s a car buff, mention that you’re looking for a new car and ask him for some pointers.
Leave on a high note.
You don’t want to overstay your welcome or linger around until it becomes awkward. When things start to settle down, take it as your cue to politely thank the parents for taking the time to meet you and then make your grand exit. Be careful, though. If you get up immediately after dinner and announce your goodbyes, the parents will feel that you came just for the free food. Allow some time to hang out after the meal, and leave when you feel is appropriate. If you leave on a high note, the parents will be likely to look forward to seeing you again.