Painless Ways to "Meet the Parents"
By Laurie Davis, Founder of eFlirt and Jessica Kane, Client Relationship Strategist
It’s the holidays, and you know what that means: wrapping gifts, trimming trees – and meeting parents. It can be nerve-wracking, but Laurie, eFlirt Expert and Thomas, husband and founder of The Professional Wingman, have some Dos and Don’ts to help make that first encounter with your partner’s parents as effortless as possible.
Hug hello -- Meeting parents is like a first date, and hugging is a great way to help break the ice. It allows you to feel comfortable and warm towards each other early on.
Meet when there are other people around -- The holidays are the best time to integrate someone because it's a time we all choose to be inclusive and welcoming. Though it can be a little overwhelming to meet twelve people instead of two, it removes that feeling of having the spotlight on you and allows you to blend into the family more and bond with others beyond mom and dad. It gives mom and dad a glimpse of how you might fit into their family long term, if the relationship continues.
Bring a gift -- This shows appreciation. Make sure it’s the right kind of gift, though (ideally something you know they'll like). Go the extra mile by asking your boyfriend or girlfriend for his or her parents' favorite bottle of wine or favorite flower. It shows you really care, rather than doing it to fulfill an obligation.
Offer to help -- They might insist you're a guest and not allow you to but do your best to try and gently push back. When I started doing the dishes at my husband's family's house, our relationships changed! It gets you on their level.
Cool it on the PDA -- Parents DO want to see you have chemistry, but they DON'T want to watch you make out. Small touches are best – I recommend a little handholding if they’re a particularly touchy-feely family.
Surprise anyone with meeting for the first time -- Everyone should know it's happening otherwise it can get awkward fast.
Freak out if you don't understand them right away -- Every family has their own inside jokes and dynamic. Do your best to follow along but don't anticipate you'll understand every story they tell.
Talk about your exes -- The family wants to know you're committed and discussing the past may seem like you're stuck in it. Plus, your flaws aren't the ideal introduction.
Tattle on your new flame and mention anything he or she has done wrong in your relationship thus far -- You want to speak well of your honey, and bringing up flaws risks making you look like you're being judgmental.
What are some of your meet the parents dos and don'ts? Share with other eFlirters in the comments below!