Meeting Your Parents
By Joanna, age 20, South Wales, United Kingdom
Okay, so last month I wrote an article about meeting your boyfriend's parents - how terrifying it is, and how to survive and make a good impression. This month I thought I'd follow that up with some advice for when he meets your parents - which can be just as terrifying as you meeting his!
You want your parents to get along with your boyfriend, so it can be nerve-wracking when they first meet. Here are some things to bear in mind for that day:
1. Make sure you let him know where you're going and what you're doing so that he can dress appropriately. Just as you don't want to turn up at what you think is a dinner at his house in your favourite battered converse and jeans, to find you're being whisked off to a fancy restaurant with his parents, he doesn't want to either!
2. Remember that he'll be nervous and take that into account. If you think he's forgotten a 'thank you' somewhere, for example, if your mum has just put dinner on the table, you say thank you first as a bit of a reminder. Don't make it obvious that's what you're doing though, or he'll feel even worse about it! Be subtle to make sure his nerves don't get the better of him!
3. Just as it's best for you to be honest when meeting his parents, try to make it easy for him to be honest when meeting yours. That means, if there's anything about him that they might not like, don't lie about it, but perhaps instead let them know about it before they meet so that they don't have an obviously negative reaction if it comes up in conversation over dinner. Also, avoid telling him the things about himself that your parents might not like - it will just make him more nervous and probably more scared to be himself around them.
4. Try to create a relaxed environment. Remember, you know both your parents and boyfriend a lot better than they know each other, so perhaps start conversations or prompt your parents to start a conversation. This can be done quite easily if, for example, there is something you know your dad and boyfriend have in common, like a favourite sport or sports team.
5. As well as making sure he knows the evening's general plans, tell him a specific time to turn up so that everyone knows where they stand. Avoid being vague and telling him 'anytime after seven.' Instead, tell him 'seven o clock.' That way, you can let your parents know when you've told him to arrive, or work it out with your parents what time to tell him, and everyone knows where they stand, making the evening go a little more smoothly!
6. Let him know if you have any pets he might be allergic to. He may not have ever mentioned allergies and it may not have come up in conversation, but the last thing he wants is for your pet dog to greet him and give him a nice allergic reaction! Along the same lines, if he is allergic to your pet, make sure your parents know this so that perhaps they can make sure that Fido or Rover is kept away from your boyfriend!
7. Keeping on the allergy theme, find out if he's allergic to any sorts of food. How embarrassing would it be if your mum's best recipe turned out to be something he was allergic to! That would cause discomfort for everyone, so ask him beforehand and let whoever is cooking (or arranging where to eat) know!
8. As when you're meeting his parents, discuss meeting your parents with him beforehand. If there are any topics that he might not want your parents to bring up and feels uncomfortable discussing, let your parents know so that you can avoid embarrassment. And just as you'd like him to do for you, if any conversation topics do come up that you know or can see he's uncomfortable with, subtly edge the conversation away from it and on to something else.
9. Try not to over-think or over-worry about them meeting. It can be difficult, because, from my point of view, my mother is one of the most important people in my life and always will be, but so is my boyfriend, and so it's really important to me that they get along. But remember that the more worried you are about it, the more nervous he'll be, and the aim is to make him feel relaxed so that his brilliant personality shines through when he meets your parents!
10. Smile. This one works for when you're meeting his parents too because it will give you a confident air and make you seem really likeable, but in this situation that confident air will likely give your boyfriend a boost as well. If he thinks you're enjoying the evening and you seem to be showing that it's going well, he'll relax a little more. Also, if you're smiling a lot when you're with him, your parents will see that he makes you happy, so it's a win all around!
I hope this helps any nervous readers in this situation!