You may meet the parents the first time you meet that special woman, or you may not meet them until months into the relationship and have to meet the whole family – and the dog. It doesn’t matter when you meet them, the first impression is the first impression, and you better make it count. Following are some do’s and don’ts of meeting her parents that you will want to follow.
Do be yourself. The real you is the person who will be dating their daughter, so if you want them to like the real you, then you need to be yourself. And, if you try to be fake, you better believe that her parents are going to spot that lack of sincerity in you! Their vision is not clouded by attraction, so they can clearly see any lies or bullshit that you try to pass off as real.
Don’t be rude. Just because you are going to show them your real self, it doesn’t mean that you should be rude in their presence or act like you would when you are alone with their daughter. Be courteous, don’t slouch, shake their hand, say thank you and please, and make sure your best manners are present.
Do answer the questions that they have. And they will have questions! They are trying to find out if you are a good fit for their daughter, so you will be asked some personal questions that may make you uncomfortable. If you like the girl, you will answer them to the best of your ability. She may even save you if you give her a look of discomfort.
Don’t get defensive. They are not attacking you personally if they question something that you say. They are just trying to dig in deeper to find out if you are going to be someone who treats their daughter well and makes her happy. If you get defensive (and it may be tempting to do if they question things like why you didn’t go to college or why you are taking an unconventional route for work instead of more tradition one), then you will look as though you are angry and hiding something, and it will justify their concerns.
Do let them know how great of a girl you think their daughter is. You don’t need to pretend that you don’t like her – it’s obvious to them that you do. Make sure you smile at their daughter, acknowledge her often, and talk about her pleasantly to her parents.
Don’t question their parenting skills. She may have told you a few things about them and the way they parent, but it’s not your place to question those things when you first meet her parents. Instead, recognize that they are doing the best with what they know and have, and because you don’t know them yet – all of what she said could be her perception, but not the actual case.
Do go in understanding that they may not like you. You may do nothing wrong and they may not like you. Or, you may just rub them the wrong way and they may not like you. Whatever happens is out of your control. All you can do is control the way you act around them, which will influence how their daughter feels about you. If you can sense they don’t like you and start being rude to them, their daughter will likely not stand for it. Remember, many people will ditch their friends for a relationship, but most will NOT ditch their mother and father for a new relationship. If you get rude with her parents, then she will choose them over you.
Don’t let them be abusive to you. If they are talking down to you, being rude to you, or even being physically threatening to you – leave. You don’t have to stay and take the abuse. That’s not going to show them how good you are for their daughter, it will just teach them that they can treat you with a lack of respect.
At the end of meeting the parents for the first time, the daughter has the final say in whether or not you are going to progress further. So, while it is very important to try to interact with the parents and blend in with her family, it may not be possible to have a relationship with them – but, you can still have a relationship with her and let her have a relationship with them.