The Ultimate Guide To Meeting The Parents

If you’re meeting your significant other’s parents this holiday, take a few minutes to ensure your etiquette is in check. Of course, you should let your personality shine—but we advise pumping the brakes when it comes to unleashing your wild streak. Here, Team Zoe members share their less-than-perfect experiences to help you avoid an embarrassing moment in front of your beau’s family.

Adam Katz Sinding

Meet The Parents (Like A Pro)


“Absolutely no PDA! I don't think Rodger and I even held hands when he first met my parents.”

—Rachel Zoe


"I first met a boyfriend's parents at a restaurant and ordered an appetizer before the entrée, only to find no one else did. It was the most awkward tuna tartare experience of my life."

—Nicky Deam, Editorial Director


"Meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time, over Thanksgiving weekend, I brought a mixed case of wines I'd selected to please a range of tastes. When I arrived, I learned his dad drank only beer and his mom rarely drank anything at all. Just like that, I went from savvy, generous oenophile to wine snob and boozebag. Thankfully, his dad (pilsner in hand) and I (with a pinot) sat next to each other at dinner and had a hilarious conversation about our 'cultural differences.' Fast-forward a few years and my boyfriend is now my husband. Moral of the story: Be yourself, own your faux pas and let self-deprecating humor be an excuse to get to know his family better."

—Tom Balamaci, General Manager


"I once flew to visit a boyfriend's parents. I had never met them and was nervous. At the airport I realized I'd forgotten a book, so I blindly bought a best-seller and was on my way. My first day there, my then-boyfriend had to work, so I just hung out at the house and read. It wasn't until that night I realized why there was so much hype surrounding 50 Shades of Gray. I'm still mortified thinking about it."

—Claudia Graziano, Social Media Coordinator


"For my very first visit to my boyfriend's parents' house, I brought what I would normally sleep in: short shorts and a ripped-up T-shirt. Imagine how horrified I was in the morning when I heard we would all be eating breakfast together in our PJs."

—Lauren Eggertsen, Editorial Assistant


"If you (like me) are a fearless fashion girl who loves black leather and fringe and his parents are sweater-set-wearing traditionalists, you're going to need to soften your look a bit. By all means stay true to who you are, just trust me when I say you don't want the first conversation to revolve around your fashion-forward outfit choice."

—Marisa Runyon, Director of TV and Digital Video Production


“The first time I stayed at the home of my husband's parents, I had such an amazing trip, I felt like I needed to send them a major thank-you. In holding out for the perfect gift, months passed, and before I knew it, an embarrassing amount of time had gone by. In the end, I just wrote a heartfelt letter. When it comes to thank-you notes, better late than never is the golden rule!"

—Shannon Nash, Fashion & Beauty Editor