Stages of Meeting the Parents

There are a lot of nerve wracking milestones in any relationship: first date, first kiss, first “I love you”. Another slightly terrifying, and typically very necessary, step in a serious relationship is to meet your significant other’s parents. This tends to feel like an even bigger deal in college, when you’ll likely have to take a trip home with your SO in order to meet their parents. Everyone, especially your SO, will constantly reassure you that there’s no way their parents won’t love you, but you’re not so confident. Based on my recent experience going home with my boyfriend for a weekend for the first time, here are the stages of meeting the parents.

1.Calling your mom/sister/cousin/aunt/best friend/other trusted loved one/all of the above for help.

At this point you’re packing for your weekend at your SO’s and you have no idea what to wear. You want to look put together and mildly stylish, of course, but will they think you’re high maintenance if you bring two different pairs of shoes? Is this sweater sophisticated enough? Too sophisticated? You also don’t know what to say or how to act once you get there. What if you talk too much? What if you don’t talk enough? What if… At this point the sensible family member or friend you’ve consulted will certainly cut you off and instruct you to take a deep breath.


2. Getting a little irritated every time someone tells you that your SO’s parents are most definitely going to love you.

Their support is greatly appreciated. However, after a while it can be a little frustrating when no one will acknowledge that there is a possibility that you and the fam don’t click. And that’s okay. But if that happens to be the case, you want to be emotionally prepared!


3. The nerves start to set in.

You’re in the car on the way to your SO’s parents’ house and your stomach is in knots. It may be a four hour drive, but you’ve got plenty of nervous energy stored up. You may talk your poor SO’s ear off the whole way there.


4. Awkward introductions.

Are you supposed to shake their hands? Go in for the hug? Give them your full ND introduction? Aren’t they supposed to be asking you questions? They totally shouldn't leave the small talk up to you in your current state.


5. Family Dinner: Part I

They’re all catching up and talking about people you’ve never met and places you’ve never heard of. You have very little to contribute to the conversation, and at this point and they may start wondering if you’re capable of speaking more than six words at a time. In fact, are you? You haven’t tried since you got out of the car.


6. Family Dinner: Part II

You’ve been biding your time, waiting for your opportunity to jump in. Finally, you see your moment. They’re talking about Notre Dame football! You’ve totally got this. After this, conversation comes easier and you start engaging in the family dynamic.

7. Giving yourself a mental high five when you find common interests with their family.

You’re pulling random facts and experiences from the dregs of your memory. You can engage with his sister about her competitive gymnastics based on that one time you went to your cousin’s gymnastics meet, talk to his brother about baseball because of your dad’s dedication to the Dodgers, and you mentally thank your parents for everything they ever taught you about music as you impress his mom with your love of rock and roll. You’re starting to feel pretty good.


8. Trying to get the details from your SO afterwards.

Your babe says that their family liked you a lot, and that’s great! But… what did they say exactly? You’re looking for details here.

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