Meeting the parents of your boyfriend or girlfriend can bring immediate anxiety. If you have been asking yourself, “what should I wear,” “what should I say,” “what should I bring” or “what should I do when I get there,” then I have the answers for you.
What Should You Wear and Style Your Hair?
Wear something nice! Don’t go overboard and wear something extravagant like a ball gown with purple spikey hair. You want to show them that you tried but didn’t try too hard. The best outfits and hairstyles for meeting the parents are those that are conservative and tasteful.
What Should You Do When You Get There?
When you get there, follow the parents lead during the greeting. If they reach in for a hug, then hug them back. If they put their hand out, then put your hand out back and shake it. You don’t want to make things awkward by putting out your hand for a handshake when they reach in for a hug. Also, find something to compliment! Compliment something they are wearing or something about their house. Flattery is the best technique to use when meeting the parents! Above all, make sure that you and your partner keep PDA at a minimum. That means no kissing, but handholding is acceptable.
P.S. If you are eating dinner at their house, offer to wash the dishes. They will probably decline, but it is courteous to at least offer.
What Should You Say?
Engage the parents in conversation! That means it is okay for you to ask questions. You can ask questions about how your partner was during childhood or questions about any pictures that you see above the mantle. When the parents ask you questions, stay away from “yes” or “no” answers or one-word answers. Answer their questions with details and if possible, fit in a question for them to answer that will carry on the flow of the conversation. For example, if they ask you “What do you do for work?” Then, a good response is “I became a chef at an upscale restaurant because I’ve always loved cooking and I’ve always loved serving others. Your son/daughter told me that you both like going out to eat. What is your favorite restaurant?” Your response and follow-up question could carry on the conversation for hours! You’ll end up discussing favorite restaurants, favorite dishes, recipes for dishes, etc.
What Should You Bring?
Southern rules apply when meeting the parents, which means never walk into someone’s house empty-handed. If you are meeting the parents at a restaurant or somewhere in public, then you don’t need to bring anything. But if you are meeting the parents at the house, then bring something! Ask your partner for suggestions of their favorite wine, favorite plant, favorite pie, favorite flowers, etc. Just make sure you don’t walk in empty-handed!