Okay, so it’s gotten a little serious with you and your significant other—life is good. But with the holidays upon us, the time to meet the (potential) in-laws has also come. This can be quite a drag to think about—trust us, we know. It can be tough to jump in and break bread with the people who gave life to your main squeeze, because let’s be honest, you want them to like you right off the bat. To take some of the edge off, we went ahead and enlisted the help of Jane Reardon, a certified therapist who specializes in relationship issues and cofounder of Rx Breakup App, to guide us through the do’s and don’ts of meeting the parents.
Tips For Meeting The Parents
Avoid Meeting Them Too Soon
Realistically, time frames do exist, and when it comes to the parental units, meeting them too soon can make things a bit awkward and uncomfortable. According to Jane, "It depends on how serious the relationship is and if you both consider it to have long-term potential. Six months should be enough time to know which of those boxes gets checked."
Don't Make It About You
If you're nervous, just imagine how your partner is feeling. They want their family to like you too, thus, in times like these, being supportive and proactive is key. Ask your SO things you should know about their parents. Ask what they like and what they don't. You'll get points for being thoughtful, and "good manners will up your chances for success exponentially," says Jane.
Fashion girls may be experts in dressing for any occasion, but meeting the parents can drive just about any of us to our sartorial wits' end. We advise sticking to what feels authentically you, but do consider dressing as conservatively as you would for a job interview. (So maybe leave the crop tops and miniskirts at home for the night.)
Avoid Controversial Topics
The worst thing you can do is bring up topics that lead to passion-induced conversations. We're not saying there's anything wrong with being strong-willed in your beliefs, but such intense discussions only bring unnecessary steam to the table. Jane adds, "If they have opposing views, those topics can be really alienating and become the reasons they don't support your relationship." Stick to the weather and embarrassing childhood stories about your SO.
The best way to keep things light? Ask them questions about themselves. Hint: Parents love when you inquire about how they raised their child so well. It literally flatters them.
Just Be Yourself
At the end of the day, you're dating your partner, not the parents. If you've been invited to meet them, it must be for good reason. Trust that, trust yourself. Just relax and make sure not to show up empty-handed.