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Meeting Your Boyfriend’s Parents for the First Time: How to Win Them Over

We all remember how catastrophic Ben Stiller was when he met his fiancé’s parents in Meet the Parents. He was a nice guy, yet for some reason kept bombing in every instance. Since it’s summer time, it might mean a visit to your significant other’s hometown. HC knows the experience can be totally nerve-racking. To ensure you don’t break any urns or kill any family pets, HC is here to help you calm your anxiety and woo the ‘rents!
What you’ll wear: Even if working out at the gym has your body in perfect shape, don’t flaunt every part of it. We’re not saying hide your body, but if you were thinking of tiny skirts, bare midriffs or tight tanks, we say skip them.

Always stay conservative. Your dresses and skirts should be fingertip length and appropriate for the occasion. If it is a family dinner, a simple knee-length dress or dark jeans and a nice blouse should be appropriate. If it is a more formal occasion, consider something that is figure-flattering but not too short and tight. Once you’ve chosen your outfit, wipe away your highlighter neon pink nail polish and go for a red, pink or clear polish. Though the color of your nails shouldn’t be a problem, you don’t want to give the parents an excuse to criticize you. Since some parents might not understand the latest trends, be classy and leave the super trendy outfits for time with your friends- or at least for when you’ve gotten to know the parents a little better. 
For makeup, you want to look good but keep it as natural as possible. According to SheKnows.com, you should wear a light foundation that matches your skin color. Don’t cake it on! Add a bit of mascara, pink blush and lip-gloss and you should be good.  While it’s important to do all this, definitely do not hide your personality while getting dressed! Its okay to wear things that reflect who you are, so don’t take off your anklet, name plate necklace, or headband if they are part of your wardrobe. Whether you’re preppy or hippie, just pick something that matches your style but is appropriate. It isn’t Halloween, so rather, think going to church with your grandma – not AS your grandma.
For instance if you’re meeting his parents at a family dinner party, rather than pulling Cameron or Posh’s outfit, try something softer and appropriate like What I wore’s Jessica Schroeder. You can’t help but love her with the color of her dress paired with her smile!  Remember, they’re going to the MTV awards, you’re meeting the parents.

How they’ll perceive you: This is a worry for lots of girls. However, instead of thinking “are they going to like me?” think the opposite, says Patti Feinstein, America’s Dating Coach. “Ask yourself if this is a family you want to be in. Don’t let them assess you. Assess them!” Thinking like this will calm your nerves. Just as much as the family is curious about you, you should be about them. Your boyfriend is a product of this family, so really see if this is a family you could see yourself visiting and being in.  Remind yourself that you’re a great woman with many achievements and that there is no reason they shouldn’t like you.  Feeling confident is one of the biggest keys to making a good impression, so make sure to pump yourself up for the encounter.  Plus, if your boyfriend is willing to let you meet his parents, that’s a good sign already! “Be yourself and have good manners, because you don’t want to give off false impressions. And if you’re not yourself the first time you won’t be able to be yourself around them later in your relationship” says Meaghan Boegel, a junior at St. Joesph’s University in Pennsylvania.

For conversation: Ask your boyfriend about his parents before you get there and do some research. Feinstein suggests having something to say about where they live and staying away from topics like politics and religion.  “If they live in Omaha, Nebraska, google Omaha and have something interesting to say” says Feinstein. Though the family will probably have a lot to talk to you about, being prepared will allow you to have an icebreaker at any point when the conversation lulls into an awkward silence. 
If you are asked an uncomfortable question, remain neutral. For example, if a parent says “I’m against homosexuals having the right to marriage” and you disagree, remember that some parents may not be as open-minded as our generation today and are very rooted in their beliefs. Try to shrug, or say something vague like “well, to each their own” and move on- definitely do not start an argument.If the parents are conservative Catholics and you are not, and they ask about your religion, say you weren’t raised Catholic but make it clear that you are open-minded and do not oppose the views of Catholicism, assuming this is true. 

Yet, in the beginning “keep the conversation light, such as sports, weather, school, etc. You can get deeper down the road (if it lasts that long!)” advises Kathleen Bogle, professor and author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating.

Your manners:
If there is one thing to remember from this article, this is it. Smile, say please and thank you and don’t be sloppy! If you’re going out to a nice dinner, try to avoid ordering foods that require your hands to eat like burgers and pizza- just to make it easier on yourself. Avoid drinking alcohol to avoid feeling lightheaded or risking getting out of hand and saying something you might regret later.  “Unless everyone is drinking at a bar-b-q or something – including his mom, stay away from alcohol. If everyone is drinking, it’s ok to take a beer or glass of wine to be polite” says Feinstein.  Lastly, do little things like picking up your plate, offering to set the table and helping the mother with the dishes. It might be small, but the parents will notice.

Meeting parents is hard. Meeting your boyfriend’s parents is even harder because you want the people closest to the person you care about so much to accept you. Remember to be strong, confident, and well-mannered beginning when you ring the doorbell. If you’re a good person, it will show, so don’t worry too much!
Meaghan Boegel, a junior at St. Joesph’s University
Kathleen Bogle, Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at La Salle University and author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating
Kerri Ellis, author of Meet the Parents on SheKnows.com, http://www.sheknows.com/articles/804609/what-to-wear-when-meeting-your-boyfriends-parents
Patti Feinstein, Relationship Expert/America’s Dating Coach
Jessica Schroeder, www.whatiwore.tumblr.com

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