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Congratulations! You have miraculously tricked someone out there into believing that the snort you develop every time you laugh is actually endearing, as is managing to spill your dinner down you every single meal time, despite the fact you are 20 years old. Lo and behold, it is now time. Time for that event you only get one shot at; where first impressions have never been so important and under all circumstances you must suppress your snort and ensure any food you are given does not end up down your meticulously planned outfit. No, this is not a job interview (although similar rules may apply); it is in fact meeting your other half’s parents. Cue dramatic music.
Personally, I am not so good at the whole meeting the parents shenanigan. I get nervous, which develops into me talking too much, which develops into me making me no sense, which develops into me sitting there red faced whilst a voice in my head screams ‘RUN!’. Thus, I have devised a guide to eliminate any stress and avoid making the meeting with the parents a startlingly catastrophic event.
- I will begin with attire. Remember the old saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’? Well, nowadays no one seems to be listening to this, so dressing appropriately is paramount for first impressions. I am not talking about splashing out on a brand new outfit; I am just saying choose wisely. Anything that leaves little to the imagination is not going to go down well and may result in your new partner’s parents convincing their darling son/daughter how inappropriate you are.
- Research. Treat your other half’s parents a bit like you would an essay – bear with me here. Find out about their likes – mutual interests make for easy conversation – and particularly their dislikes – you don’t want to be putting your foot into a sensitive subject. Give yourself an A* if said parents invite you to do something with them again in the not so distant future.
- Okay, so you want to make a good impression. Your achievements and future plans will aid you in this, just don’t go overboard. Boasting is not likely to go down well, instead try and slip in the fact you climbed the world’s tallest mountain more subtly, rather than blurting it out when there is a lull in conversation.
- PDA (public displays of affection- for those who don’t know) is a no no in most situations, but particularly this one. What better way to make your partner’s parents uncomfortable than kissing and cuddling on the sofa as they ask how many pets you have. Keep your hands to yourself.
- Manners really do matter. There is no excuse for being late (a zombie apocalypse is the only exception) and don’t forget your pleases and thank yous. Likewise, make yourself useful – a sure fire way to get into the parents’ good books is offering to lend a hand. Volunteering to help with the cooking or washing up usually goes down a treat. Note: it is okay to secretly hope that the parents pat you on the shoulder and tell you to sit down with a glass of wine instead.
- Whilst we are on the subject of wine… do not get drunk when meeting parents for the first time. I repeat, do not.
- Remember, parents are humans too – they once had to meet their partner’s parents. This isn’t an interrogation, they are probably just happy that their beloved son/daughter has found someone foolish enough to accept them, faults and all!