10 Fail-Safe Tips for Meeting the Parents and Leaving a Good Impression

November 10, 2018 Relationships
meeting the parents

You’ve met your significant other’s best friend. You’ve met his co-workers. You’ve even met his favorite cousin.

But now it’s time to meet the parents.

(Cue intimidating music: “Duunn duunn … duuuunnnn duunn….”)

Meeting the parents is considered to be one of the most stressful and pressure-filled moments of any romantic relationship. Even the 2000 movie Meet the Parents was created based on this oftentimes-scary milestone.

However, your meeting of the parents doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience that ultimately dooms your relationship.

Here’s a rundown on 10 ways you can dodge the awkward moments when meeting the parents of your significant other in the near future.

Let’s dig in!

1. Establish Boundaries When Meeting the Parents

Plan to have your first meeting with the parents at a place where the event will have a clear ending point.

For instance, hold the meeting at a neutral location, such as a coffee shop or restaurant. In this way, neither you nor the parents feel like they are being judged due to your surroundings.

Also, focus just on meeting your love’s parents — don’t add aunts and uncles to the mix, too.

Yes, these other family members might be dying to check you out, but now is not the time to make their acquaintance. They can meet you sometime in the future when you’re feeling less overwhelmed.

2. Investigate Ahead of Time

Chances are you are skilled in being a Facebook stalker. Now’s the perfect time to put your investigative skills to use and gather some information on your love’s parents before the big meeting.

Also, ask your significant other about family quirks you should know ahead of time so that you don’t commit any faux pas.

For instance, what kinds of food do the parents like? Will they want a hug, or would they be more comfortable with a handshake? Do they prefer to be called sir and ma’am, or Mr. and Mrs.?

Your partner may find these questions annoying or odd since they already know the answers without thinking about them. But the more you find out, the less awkward your first meeting will be.

3. Embrace Yourself

Let’s say you see yourself being with your significant other for many years. Maybe even forever.

If you try to calculate each move you make, you’ll find yourself feeling exhausted and unnatural. So, be yourself during your first meeting. The more original you are, the more your potential parents-in-law can fall in love with the real you.

4. Exhibit Courtesy and Kindness

Take time to compliment the parents’ outfits or even the meal and decor if you end up meeting them at their home.

The truth is, flattery can take you just about anywhere. In fact, research shows that getting a compliment can have the same impact on someone as getting cash does.

Also, volunteer to help with dishes or with clearing the dinner table. This gives you extra time to talk to the parents and build valuable connections with them.

5. Bring a Present

Whether your meeting with the parents is at a restaurant or at their home, make sure that you bring a gift. For instance, at their home, you could bring an appetizer or even a wine bottle. At a restaurant, you can’t go wrong with bringing flowers.


Because this shows that you are anticipating the parents’ needs, thus demonstrating your responsible and thoughtful qualities. Just don’t spend a ton of money on your gift. The thought is what ultimately counts.

6. Keep PDA to a Minimum

Everybody’s level of comfort with public displays of attention, or PDA, is different. Therefore, it’s best that you keep your PDA to a minimum.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating for only a few months or you’ve been living together with your significant other for years. Try not to touch one another in any place you wouldn’t want your boss to see you touching.

7. Dress Nicely

Think of your meeting with the parents as a job interview of sorts.

To put your best foot forward, dress nicely. This will increase their chances of taking you seriously.

Avoid anything that is cropped or that bears a lot of cleavage. However, you also don’t necessarily need to wear a business suit.

Just make sure that your outfit is tasteful and reflects your personality.

8. Be Inquisitive

In keeping with the job interview them, make sure that you ask your significant other’s parents plenty of questions.

For instance, maybe you’re curious about a family photo on their fireplace mantle. Or maybe you see pictures of a child whom you surmise is your significant other years ago.

Don’t be afraid to ask them about what you notice. These are great talking points, and when you ask questions, it shows that you know how to be engaging — an attractive quality in any person.

9. Be Smart About What You Discuss

Try to focus on your qualities that are different from those that the parents disliked in the last person your partner brought to dinner with the parents.

We’re not talking about things you can’t change, like your status or race. We’re talking about things like whether you have life goals, and whether you know how to be humble.

Ask your partner for clues about what you should emphasize about yourself to hit it off with the parents.

10. Be Real in Your Appreciation

Finally, be genuine in showing appreciation for the parents’ home, if you end up meeting them there.

If you like a certain piece of art in the living room, tell them this. Or tell them what you enjoyed most about their meal.

Then, when you leave, tell them that you truly appreciated getting to meet them.

The more genuine you are, the more they can’t help but fall in love with you — just like your partner did moons ago.

How We Can Help

In addition to providing tips on meeting the parents, we offer a wide range of other helpful relationship advice.

Take a peek here to find out more about how you can take your romantic relationship to the next level and make the most of it in the years ahead.