We have all been there, the moment he tells you he wants you to meet the family. (Enter scary movie sounds). Your mind is running in many directions, you may be a tad horrified. And that’s ok, this is completely normal. If you really like this guy, this could be a huge step in your relationship with him.
The steps of dating can be similar to a LONG (hopefully) drawn out professional interview. You first make an impression with him, then you meet the friends, then the time comes to meet the family. This is usually the last approval you need to know if this relationship has the potential to last long term (no pressure). So what do you do to prepare?
Step #1: Research
In this day in age, we have all grown so social media savvy, we can investigate every detail about someone. This is a good time to practice this millennial skill and learn about his family.
There is nothing more awkward than entering an interview unprepared. This goes for meeting his family. Search for them through your different social media outlets. Studying their faces (forgetting names is always embarrassing), looking through what they post about gathering future conversation potential. Find out if you have similar interests with any of them. Going into this first meeting prepared will lay the foundation for the perfect first impression, and also will help calm your nerves.
Step #2: Attire
This is not the time to look like a “tramp.” Not that you usually do…but just look at yourself through the eyes of another generation. I have heard so many horror stories of this from friends and it makes for a very awkward first encounter. If you are going to a restaurant or a neutral location it is easy to access the best attire to match the ambiance of the restaurant. However, most meetings I have been to with families were at their home. He should be able to tell you what the vibe is like and this hopefully can help you dress accordingly. Business casual (maybe even an inch heavier on the casual) will typically be a good idea for any at home scenario. Also, this is not the time to try out that super dramatic smokey eye, again, remember your audience and adjust accordingly.
Step #3: Gifts
Always bring a gift; flowers, a bottle of wine, or maybe some chocolates. People love gifts and families don’t usually expect it, so this will get you started on the right foot.
Step #4: Compliments
Mothers are easy for me, if you can complement their style, home, or décor…you’re in. Dad’s sometimes can be a little harder (enter your research). For example: if you notice that the dad has a hobby of building things compliment some of the things he built in the house. They love that! Just keep in mind these should not go on all night, these are more introductory conversation pieces. Also, be genuine if you like it, if you don’t then don’t pretend. Last but not least, compliment mom and dad on their sons upbringing…they LOVE this!
Step #5: Manners
This is a very important step that will make or break his family’s entire first impression of you. They have always had an idea of who they wanted their little boy to be with, and they hopefully raised him with those same values. So make sure you bring out what you learned in this first interaction with parents. Be polite- say please, thank you, and use “sir” and “ma’am” or “Mr.” or “Mrs.” (unless they tell you otherwise). Offer to help, setting up for dinner, cleaning up, etc. If they are good hosts, they usually won’t accept your offer but it’s the thought that counts. DO NOT. I REPEAT. DO. NOT. EXPRESS PDA. There is nothing more uncomfortable for a mother than watching her son be seduced in their family room. Keep any PDA to a PG level (hand holding, light peck on the cheek).
Step #6: Conversation
Be prepared to be answering their questions for the first portion of the first meeting. After this they should start discussing other things. On the first night, don’t be too aggressive with the conversations that take place, stay reserved (but not too quiet), let them talk and lightly add input when you can. Avoid bragging. Also, avoid inappropriate conversations, they do not need to know that you and their son met after you both won an intense round of beer pong at some college party.
Step #7: Breathe
You totally can do this! You’ve obviously attracted their son, so you can definitely win over his family. Just be yourself; just remember they may be just as nervous as you are. Walk into this first meeting prepared and confident and you will win them over!