So you meet "the one" and it all goes swimmingly until it’s time to meet the parents of the object of your affection. This little meeting has all sorts of interesting complications, but the bottom line is, you want them to like you because you like their son or daughter and you see a future together and well, it is the right thing to do. But none the less, its nerve-wracking and you would rather just get it over and done with. So where to start for a successful meet and greet?
1. Planning Ahead
It’s always a good idea to get as much information about the people you are meeting before hand, preferably from your other half – as it is probably the most reliable. If not, you might be in for a treat.
Find out what subjects are a no-no, what they like, what they don’t like, what they do or did for a living and get a general feel for the people they are. Find out about their interests, hobbies, any travels they may have taken – recent ones are good – and ask about things like sporting interests, talents and that kind of thing.
2. Be Prepared
Have a little think to yourself about the most impossibly awful, difficult questions that could come up. Hey if you have been Facebook stalking them – in a friendly way – you can be very sure Mummy and Daddykins have been doing the same to you. You might want to do a clean sweep of your Facebook page and other social media or just lock on some swift and sturdy privacy settings; so that wild weekend away with their beloved daughter/son can’t get spied on at all.
Think about all of the worst questions they could possibly ask you and prepare a good answer for each of these scenarios. You know exactly what this is all about – the questions about your intentions with their beloved daughter or son, what your religious beliefs are, your commitment to the relationship is, your financial prospects, your career prospects, what education do you have? Lying on a beach in Santorini for 5 years smoking weird plants and sampling all the local beer doesn’t count as education. Remember that one time, when you were innocent and you got stopped and got arrested because you were carrying that stuff for your friend? Those questions.
3. Religious and Political Debates
Yes, ah, these are the two pinnacle subjects you are not going to want to explore – at all – possibly ever – with your partner's parents. Add sex to that list while you are at it. If your partner’s parents have strict religious beliefs, they are going to want to know what yours are, for sure. Steer clear from these subject matters at all costs, but if you are railroaded into a corner and asked for your opinion, always be honest but polite, which can also very much mean leaving some stuff out. Brutal honestly might not go down singing hymns on the first visit, if at all.
4. Getting There
Firstly, punctuality will be noticed, written down in a big black book and will have set an expectation for the next visit – if you are lucky enough to be granted one. Okay, so it might not be that bad, but punctuality is going to get you off to a really nice start, so make a solid effort. However don’t arrive too early, as you will fluster your hosts who could be al flagrante delicto on the kitchen counter and some things just can’t be unseen.
Don’t arrive on your Harley – yes you will make a lasting impression, but perhaps not one that will get you a follow up invitation. Leave your bicycle at home for the same reason.
5. Look the Part
Hopefully, your homework will have helped you to work out the part which will tell you if your hosts are very formal people – suit, tie, appropriate formal dress to the knee and pearls type of Sunday Lunch people.
Or who are smart, casual, jeans, and t-shirt folks who wear cardies and snuggle by the fire with their hot chocolate and the family dog. Either way, don’t arrive in your slops and sarong – make an effort to look effortlessly casual and quietly sophisticated.
Guys wear a collared shirt with buttons, yes even if it is paired with shorts and loafers. Get rid of all your death metal jewellery and for the love of God, put the tattoos away at least for the first visit. Girls – the same goes for you – no tattoos, no OTT jewellery (you might be competing with your hostess) and no very revealing, tight-fitting clothing. Leave them cleavage sisters behind an appropriate dress or shirt – no, not even a hint, your other half can have a chance to see them later. But still be yourself – although not too much that you end up offending everybody – no pressure.
Ah, this is another tricky one, but if this meet and greet is important to you, get it right otherwise there will be no second chance. And this one, compared to everything else, is simple – don’t get inebriated. In fact, don’t even get tiddly or better yet – don’t drink at all. And if you are driving – much better if you just stick to soft drinks especially if your host’s beloved apple of their eye is your one and only passenger.
7. Be Nice
So after all of that, you can just chill and be your normal charming self. Pull the chair out for your girlfriend, pay attention to the hostesses home, meal and special effort they have put in. Be smart, but not clever, ask a lot of questions about the hosting couple and be careful not to pay too much physical attention to your date and just behave yourself. No swearing, definitely no slapping your date on their gluteus maximus and no monopolising the conversation and you should be able to leave with your limbs intact. Hey, they might even just like you.