MeetTheParents

Oh, happy day!  You’ve met the perfect person. You like the same music, he dresses nicely, she shares your sense of humor, he makes you smile, she’s open-minded and likes to try new things.  Your heart has swooned and everything is going beautifully.  So much so that your significant other wants to show you off…to the parents.

Gulp. Before you go into a hysterical fit and are seized by the men in white coats, take a deep breath, and read on. These are some tips to make you look less like a psychopath and more like a mature adult who has her life together.

Dress to Impress
This one might be tricky, but if you nail it, half the battle is won.  You want to make sure you look like the best possible version of yourself.  Be true to your own personal style and preferences, but make sure you don’t look like a slob or run the risk of offending anyone.  Imagine that you’re meeting your grandma for lunch.  Wear something you like and feel good in, but make sure it makes you look like a respectful adult.  If you’re into extreme colors or outrageous accessories, try to incorporate them into your outfit in a subtle way.  Or if you’re really at a loss, bring a well-dressed and respectable friend with you to pick out an outfit.  Since your friend isn’t meeting any parents, they can be more objective and honest with how you really look.  If you know you look good, you’ll have one less thing to worry about, and be that much closer to getting the much-coveted parental stamp of approval.

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Mr. and Miss Manners
Some old-fashioned manners never hurt anyone.  This is the time to quit cursing, use proper grammar, shake hands with new people, and stand up straight.  Again, think lunch with grandma.  And for the love of all that is good and holy, if you eat with your significant other’s parents, use proper table etiquette!  That means use forks and knives—not fingers—use a napkin, don’t talk with food in your mouth, and don’t put your elbows on the table.  There’s a reason your mom drilled table manner rules into your head as a kid… she wanted you to not look like a goon when you meet your significant other’s parents.

Small talk
Be ready to talk about yourself.  What do you do, where are you from, what’s your major, how did you meet their son or daughter?  Before you start getting interrogated, take some time to plan out what you might say.  Now is not the time to sound self-deprecating or full of yourself.  Talk about what you do and share a few stories or anecdotes that highlight how awesome you are, but don’t come off as whiny or cocky.  If you find yourself at a loss for words, try asking his or her parents a few questions.  What do they do, how long have they lived wherever they do?  People generally have an easier time talking about themselves, so if you feel overwhelmed ask some questions of your own. And make sure to listen.

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SMILE
This is so important, and if I can do it so can you.  Trust me.  But don’t over-do it.  You shouldn’t look like the Joker or the young professional from The Purge.  That’s creepy, and you’ll look like you’re out to murder everyone.  Aim to look friendly and personable instead.  Smiles are supposed to put people at ease, not make them uncomfortable.

Your true aim is to present the best version of yourself as possible.  Show that you know how to take care of yourself, that you have manners and are polite, that you can communicate decently, and that you aren’t a total grump.  The way your partner’s parents are feeling is similar to how you feel when your brother or sister or close friend finds someone new; you want to make sure that this new flame isn’t a huge jerk and is worth your your loved one’s time.  This is how your new guy or girl’s parents feel.

But make sure you get something out of the deal.  Whether it’s a long kiss, a favorite meal, a massage, whatever—you did a good job and you deserve it.  Also, keep in mind that the ordeal could bring you and your guy or girl closer together.  And seeing your boyfriend or girlfriend interacting with family can reveal to you a new side of his or her character, which is always fun.  So put your best foot forward and impress those parents!  I believe in you.

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Image Source: Eharmony