Meeting Your Partner’s Parents: How to Make a Good First Impression

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Each relationship progresses at its own pace, and meeting the parents is a big step in that evolution. It’s only natural to feel nervous before that first meeting. Our guide provides the much-needed answers to when the right time is to meet the parents, how to conduct yourself in that initial meeting, and what to avoid.

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When Is the Right Time to Meet Parents?

Many spend a lot of time pondering over the right time to introduce parents to a partner. Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted ‘right time’. Different relationships move at different paces. It’s more important to understand where you are in the relationship stage than how long you’ve been together. If you’ve talked about marriage and commitment, the time might be right to meet the parents.

In long-term relationships, meeting parents for the first time is not a question of ‘if’ but of ‘when’. You need to be sure that you and your partner are ready to take this step and are on the same page. Your significant other might not feel ready to take the relationship to the next level. So be understanding, don’t have too high expectations, and remember that if your companion doesn’t want to meet the parents just yet, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you.

DID YOU KNOW? Research shows that Millennials don’t wait too long before introducing their partner to parents—after 10 dates or two months of dating.

Meeting the Parents: How to Make a Good First Impression

Before you meet your companion’s parents, you probably feel insecure and are racking your brain to figure out how to leave a good first impression. Even though each situation is different, there are some tips you can implement to ensure your first meeting doesn’t leave a bad taste. Consider the following 12 tips to keep in mind before the big meeting.

Learn About the Family

Before being formally introduced to the family, it’s good to ask your partner what their family is like. What are they interested in? Are there any sensitive topics you should avoid? Is there anything specific you need to pay attention to? It’s also good to get personal information about each family member, e.g., the parents’ jobs, siblings’ education, etc.

Dress Appropriately

When meeting the parents for the first time, you want to leave a good impression, and your physical appearance plays a significant role. You may spend hours wondering what to wear for this special occasion, but don’t think too hard—you can wear whatever you want, as long as it’s appropriate and suitable.

Bring a Gift

Whenever you’re meeting someone for a special occasion for the first time, it’s polite to bring a gift, such as a dessert, a bottle of wine, or flowers (always a safe bet). You shouldn’t, however, spend half your salary on a gift; it’s the thought that counts.

Follow the Family’s Traditions

Each family has its own set of rules and traditions. So if they welcome you into their home and family, respect their family traditions. For example, if everyone takes their shoes off, you should, too. Or, if they have Christmas or birthday traditions, make sure to do what everyone else does.

Address them Appropriately

If you’re meeting his or her parents for the first time, be careful how you address them. Always add a title and address them with their family name unless they explicitly ask you to call them by their first names. But if they don’t ask you to use their personal names, be polite and address them as you would someone you just met.

Mind Your Manners

A person’s manners can tell you a lot about their character. So be sure not to forget your manners during your meeting. For example, if you’re sharing a meal, be wary of table etiquette and always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, emphasising your politeness and scruples in social situations.

Be Yourself

It’s only normal to want your companion’s parents to see the best of you, but you shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not. Your significant other loves you for who you are, so why shouldn’t they? Just be yourself and let them get to know the real, authentic you.

Show Interest & Ask Questions

Upon meeting his or her parents, be invested in the conversation and show interest. If you think you won’t know what to talk about, come up with some discussion topics before the meeting. It’s also good to ask questions, showing them that you genuinely want to know them. [It’s one of the most suitable ways to become a good girlfriend (or boyfriend).]

Offer Help

Your partner’s family will likely host you in their home. If this is the case, you should, for example, offer to help by preparing dinner, setting and clearing the table, or washing the dishes. This will show them that you’re not lazy and want to be included in everything. If the meeting takes place at a restaurant, you should offer to pay the bill.

Compliment Your Partner

Meeting the family will be a great opportunity to compliment your partner before the parents, making your companion feel good and the parents proud. You could also compliment the parents on their good job in parenting your significant other, making them feel good about themselves.

Enjoy Yourself

If you’re genuinely enjoying yourself, everyone will notice. So relax and appreciate the moment. When everyone’s calm and having fun, it’s more likely that everyone will want to meet again soon. And these people will probably be in your life for years to come, so you’ll want to build a good relationship with them.

End on a Good Note

Meeting parents for the first time only happens once. So when the initial meeting comes to an end, and you’re saying your goodbyes, make sure to end it on a good note. Let them know how pleased you were to have met them, thank them for spending time with you, and tell them that you’re looking forward to seeing them again.

DID YOU KNOW? Before you meet the parents, solidify the relationship with your partner by going on dates and trying different things together. But if you’re out of proposals, you can’t go wrong with London date ideas.

Key Takeaways

Meeting your companion’s parents is a big step in each relationship.
There is no ‘right time’ for introducing your partner to the parents, but it should occur when both partners are ready.
There are several tips to help leave a good first impression when meeting parents.
When meeting someone’s parents, there are certain things you shouldn’t do and say, including (among others) using foul language, looking at your phone, and complaining. 

The Don’ts of Meeting the Family

When meeting your loved one’s family, consider the following things you should never do.

Don’t

  • Be late: Tardiness is never well-received. So make sure to arrive on time when you meet the parents for the first time (or anytime).
  • Use foul language: Even if everyone is relaxed and talks freely with one another, mind your language and don’t swear or use other inappropriate words or expressions.
  • Complain: Don’t start complaining when meeting the parents for the first time. Even if you’re tired, sick, or dissatisfied with your job, keep it to yourself.
  • Lie: Lying—even little white lies—can come back to bite you later. When the parents get to know you better, they’ll find out you’ve been dishonest and lose respect for you.
  • Get drunk: Excessive drinking is not a good idea, and it’s especially frowned upon when meeting potential in-laws. Don’t indulge in more than a glass or two of an alcoholic beverage.
  • Display too much physical affection: There’s probably a lot of chemistry between you and your loved one, but don’t overdo it with physical displays of affection in front of the parents.
  • Discuss sensitive topics: Meeting his or her parents doesn’t mean that you have the liberty to discuss sensitive topics, such as politics, religion, or sexuality.
  • Use your phone: Put your phone away and refrain from checking it if you’re in the company of family and friends. Otherwise, it will seem disrespectful.
    Now that you’re familiar with what you need to do and not do before being introduced to the parents, you’re ready to meet them.
DID YOU KNOW? If you wish to surprise your girlfriend with a romantic gesture, be attentive to her interests and join her whenever she pursues her desires, including family time.

Conclusion

You want to leave a good impression on your companion’s parents and have them welcome you into the family. But don’t think too hard about meeting his or her parents for the first time. If you apply the tips in our guide, you have no reason to be nervous.

FAQ

How long should you be in a relationship before meeting the parents?

Although there’s no hard-and-fast rule about when you should meet the parents, some experts suggest that you need to be at least three months into the relationship before any family introductions.

What do you say when you meet the parents?

Upon meeting the parents, be polite, use the customary greetings, and give them a compliment or two. Afterwards, you can just go with the flow of the conversation.

Is meeting the parents a big step?

Meeting your loved one’s closest family members is generally a big deal for some more than others but is typically considered essential in every relationship.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've loved writing since I can remember, and back in high school, I started loving psychology as well. So I majored in it while dabbling in spirituality and yoga on the side.

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