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12 Do’s and Don’ts of Meeting Your Significant Other’s Family

Most of us have been there and done that, meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend’s family members for the first time. Sweaty palms, a nervous stomach, awkward stammers and several feelings of uncertainty carry you through the first time you meet your partner’s mom, dad, brothers, sisters, dogs and cats… Well, maybe not the last two, but you know what I’m talking about. It’s nerve-wracking, but you’ll get through it and you’ll realize it really wasn’t bad at all. To have a good relationship with your significant other’s family is a pretty big deal and you should really try to be your best you. First impressions are important!

Here are 12 Do’s and Don’ts that can help the next time you’re in a similar situation thinking, “Am I going to be over dressed? Oh no. No, I’m definitely going to be underdressed.” “Will they like me?” “Should I have said that?” or “I wish I wouldn’t have said that… idiot. Why did I say that?”

Be yourself and the family will love you! Trust me, you’ll be fine. Especially, if you follow these simple and obvious guidelines:

1)   Do try anything they offer you. If they offer you a drink or food, take it. Unless you’re allergic, really, really hate whatever it is, or have a health issue. It’s rude to refuse hospitality!

2)   Don’t wear anything too revealing. Keep it classy, never trashy.

3)   Don’t bring up any of the drama that you and your boyfriend or girlfriend have had recently. Save that for private, when it’s just you and your SO. Family members don’t want to hear about those things and it makes them uncomfortable. So don’t say things like “Oh, yeah, like the time you…” Please, just don’t.

4)   Don’t nag at your SO, or family members will definitely get the wrong (or right- yikes!) idea about you and how you treat their son or daughter.

5)   Do talk about yourself and your relationship… if they ask first! There’s definitely a limit to the amount of things and the kinds of things you should say about yourself and your SO. Keep your personal problems personal and your relationship details private until you’ve all established a relationship that welcomes it.

6)   It’s a slight contradiction to number 4, but don’t just sit there either. Involve yourself in their conversations when the opportunity presents itself. If you actually know a few things about what they’re discussing, jump right in and join the convo! Get to know the family because they’re putting forth the effort to get to know you too.

7)   Do offer to help clean up after dinner, unless you’re at a restaurant. You already know they won’t allow you to help (most of the time), but it’s always a nice gesture and they’ll appreciate that you offered.

photo from Google.com

8)   Do shake their hands. When you greet your SO’s family, reach out a hand and be friendly (if they’re huggers, then embrace it fully). It not only shows that you’re friendly, but it also shows you’re mature and able to introduce yourself without your SO prodding you from behind his or her back and saying “Yeah, everybody, this is my girlfriend/boyfriend…” PEOPLE SKILLS: gotta have ‘em, friends.

9)   Do use your manners. Say please and thank you, of course. You’ve hopefully been learning that since you were wee little lads and lassies. But, really, don’t forget to say please and thank them if they bought you drinks or dinner. That’s a big DO, They’ll see that you’re respectful and appreciative of their generosity and hopefully they’ll know you’re just as respectful and appreciative of their loved one.

10) Don’t be vulgar or inappropriate. No matter how vulgar or inappropriate you and your SO can be when joking around in private or with your friends, don’t do it in front of his or her parents. The family does not want to see that yet, or not at all, depending on the family. Save it for when you get to know them better (or maybe not ever). It depends on the level of vulgarity and inappropriateness, I suppose.

11) Don’t drink too much if you’re having drinks with dinner. We all know our limits when drinking with friends, but my advice would be to take that limit and bring it down to a very, very low level, especially if you’re just at dinner. Your limits should depend on the situation, but whatever the situation, I sincerely hope you’re aware of said limits and that you do not embarrass yourself.

12) Do keep your hands to yourself. Please, for the sake of everyone in your vicinity, including innocent bystanders, animals, plants and every other organism around you, keep the PDA to a minimum. Don’t be making out and hanging all over your boyfriend or girlfriend. A nice hand on his or her back or shoulder every once in a while or holding hands if you’re walking somewhere, I think, is completely acceptable. But, remember, you’re not a monkey, so give him or her their space. When you get to know the family better, then it’ll be okay to express more physical displays of affection.

You have no reason to be nervous, because despite what you may think, 99.9 percent of the time they’re going to love you. Unless, you do something to purposely make them hate you. Don’t sweat it, because remember; you’ll have to shake each of their hands and nobody likes clammy, wet hands. Good luck!

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