Meeting the Parents

By: Diana D’Amato

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the point in your relationship that you get to meet your Significant Other’s parents. Don’t panic! Here are some basic tips to help you make a good impression.


In a sense, you should treat meeting the parents like going to a job interview. First and foremost, politeness and good manners are key. Even a simple “please” and “thank you” can go a long way in the respecting-your-elders department. Always offer to help. Bonus points if you bring a gift for the family like flowers, a bottle of wine, or dessert you know they will like. You can even bring something small for any younger siblings your S.O. may have. Be gracious: don’t forget to give compliments and thank them for a lovely evening. Also, mind your table manners. By that I strongly suggest you do not check your cell phone. Your full attention should be on the people you are dining with. On that note, it is important to be engaged in conversation and show genuine interest in what people are saying. You can do this by practicing active listening and asking questions. You never know, it could lead to a funny, cute story about your S.O.! After all, meeting the parents gives you a true insight into your loved one’s life and how they were brought up which can ultimately help you understand and appreciate them even more.

Since it is the holiday season, I will add that it is imperative to respect others’ traditions and cultures. If you believe there are cultural differences between your families, ask your S.O. for guidance. This is especially key if you plan on staying at your S.O.’s home for the holidays. Embrace their traditions and share yours. If you are not staying with their family, asking about holiday traditions makes a great conversation starter.


When it comes to conversation, avoid discussing religion and politics. These topics can easily offend someone and can cause a rift; following this rule will save you from awkward conversation. You should never lie about yourself or feign interest in an activity or hobby, because it will only cause trouble as they get to know you. Saying you are interested in something you are not will only lead to awkward conversations, or worse, having to participate in the activity you claimed to love.

Another, perhaps somewhat obvious, thing to avoid is acting and dressing inappropriately. I touched on manners and politeness in the “DO” section, but this covers more of your demeanor. Be sure you get enough sleep the night before, so you are alert and awake. Sleepiness can result in yawning, which can easily come across as boredom. The night before you meet the parents is absolutely not the time to go out to a bar or a party. Hungover and reeking of the bar is never a good look. Also, while you’re with the parents, keep the PDA to a minimum. Seeing their child being inappropriately touched would make any parent uncomfortable. Obviously, you should also be sure to dress more for church than for the club.


One final piece of advice: as always, be yourself. Your S.O. fell for you as you are, so their family probably will too. If you are making their child happy, then they most likely will be happy. And if you have made it to this milestone in your relationship, then clearly your S.O. must be happy.

Do you have any tips for meeting the parents for the first time? Leave a comment below to help out our fellow readers!