You want to make a good impression when your partner meets your parents for the first time so do small things that will increase your chances of success. Use good manners throughout the entire meeting, make eye contact and stick to conversation topics that won’t make anyone feel uncomfortable because this will make everyone feel relaxed and respected.
1) Tell your parents
You need to tell your parents beforehand that they’re going to be meeting your partner because if you surprise them it could be awkward and embarrassing. By telling them you’re giving them time to get prepared and to think about how they want the meeting to go. This also gives you a chance to talk to them about your partner so they feel familiar and comfortable with them when they do meet. Let them know what your partner is like, what their interests are and how serious your relationship is so your parents understand how important they are to you. This will also give them an idea of what to talk about or which fun activity, if any, they could do during the meeting.
2) Let you partner know which topics to avoid
Every family has skeletons in their closet and you’ve probably told your partner about a few of them. That’s fine but you need to tell them which topics to avoid during the meeting because they might think it’s just a funny story and don’t realize that it will cause tension or upset your parents. Give them a short list of things to keep quiet about and tell them what are safe topics to talk about. If your parents bring up a topic that you know might upset your partner or will embarrass you then have a topic in mind to change the subject to and discuss this with your partner beforehand so they can help you if you need to do this.
3) Use eye contact and positive body language
Making eye contact and showing positive body language is part of using good manners and part of showing respect which is behavior that will make your parents think well of your partner. Eye contact is important because it shows respect and helps create a bond while talking and it’ll be easier for your parents and partner to feel comfortable with each other. Positive body language that you and your partner can do is leaning towards the person you’re talking to and giving them all of your attention instead of playing with your phone or other nearby objects. If your partner is nervous and you notice them fidgeting you can hold their hand to silently help calm them down and let them know you’re there for them and everything’s fine.
4) Remember to use good manners
Remember both of you need to use good manners when meeting your parents for the first time because they’re paying attention to you as well. Your parents want to see that you treat your partner with respect because this shows them that this is a serious relationship. When you’re nervous you might laugh a lot or make jokes and this can make your parents think your partner is immature so take a few deep breaths before the meeting and relax so you make a good impression and can put your attention towards behaving in an appropriate way. The first thing to you should do after introducing each other is ask how your parents are doing and how their day went to show them that you’re interested.
5) Give them conversation ideas
Before going to your parent’s house it’s a good idea to give your partner some conversation ideas so they feel more confident about what to talk about and this will also lessen the chances of awkward silences. You can tell them about what your parents are interested in because they might have a hobby in common or you can suggest talking about a movie or TV show you know your parents love to watch. The conversation will flow smoother and feel more natural if your partner has topics to focus on and will lessen the chances of awkward silence or broaching controversial subjects.
6) Don’t be overly affectionate
Don’t be overly affectionate with your partner in front of your parents because you’re still their child. They don’t want to see you making out with each other or being too romantic by calling each other silly nicknames because it will make them uncomfortable and it’s not good manners. You need to use small, loving gestures to show your affection and these can include pulling out their chair for them if you’re eating, holding their hand or putting your arm casually around their shoulders. This shows your parents that you care for your partner without making it too obvious.
7) Meet at a restaurant
Meeting at a restaurant might be better than meeting at their house because it’s neutral territory. If it happens at your parent’s place then it might be overwhelming for your partner because it’s familiar to you and your parents but not to them. If you meet at a public place then it’s new for all of you and there’s a feeling of equality. A quiet local restaurant is good because it will be easy to find and it won’t be as crowded or noisy as a chain restaurant. It can also give you ideas on what to talk about, like the food or decor, and you won’t need to talk as much because you’ll be eating.
8) Take control during the meeting
Everyone is going to feel nervous and you’re the only thing that everyone has in common so you need to take control and break the ice. If you don’t do this then everyone’s going to feel awkward and won’t know what to say which could set the tone for the entire meeting. Introduce your partner to your parents and start talking about something simple and that everyone can relate to like the drive over there or how you’re looking forward to dinner. Once you’ve gotten things started everyone will relax and feel more confident about joining in which will make the meeting go great.
9) Keep the mood light
You want to keep the mood light so everyone feels comfortable and has a good time because if the first meeting goes well then your parents are more likely to accept your partner which means they can become part of your family. You need to avoid talking about anything upsetting or controversial and stick to things like work or fun things you’ve done with your partner such as hobbies or weekend trips.
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