Tuesday, 6 November 2012

On meeting the parents

Ahh meeting the family - a terrifying situation for even the bravest of us! The worries and questions that go through our minds, all boiling down to one question "Will I make a good impression - will they like me?"

Because ultimately thats what we all want isnt it? We really like someone, we see it having potential to go somewhere, and there is nothing worse than the potential future "one day" in-laws not liking you and making a relationship difficult.

I've been in both camps. One boyfriend's mother welcomed me in with wide warm arms (literally) and then cried when I saw them for the last time when I picked up my stuff. By contrast one boyfriends mother would barely allow me through the front door, let alone upstairs.

The last one - the very nearly "mother in law" I never quite figured out 100% I worked hard to make a good impression and show her how much I cared for my then partner. She always said what she thought, so even though sometimes she was brutally honest, when she said she cared about me and loved me I believed her. I think it was actually quite difficult for her when it ended....it was for me too. I missed her. 

So having been through a number of relationships with varying degrees of closeness to the mothers, I was really nervous this time. I "quite" like ELB and I really didn't want to mess it up early on by not making a good impression. I worried for the best part of a week over my outfit, went to three different shops on the way to buy a bottle of fizz as recommended by ELB and then stressed out when my well planned hair-do got messed up through *cough cough* "extra curricular activities" before I'd even met them.

I needn't have worried. The answer is simple - just be yourself. How many people have heard their partners tell them this "Just be yourself and they'll love you as much as I do". Your partner likes you for a reason, hopefully a number of reasons, and chances are his family is fairly similar to him and so should like you too. Lets be brutally honest here - if he really thought you wern't going to get on, he wouldn't be bringing you home.

Even so here are my top tips for making it go as smoothly as possible:

  • Dress modestly, but still be YOU. I went for a sweater dress that is maybe a *tad* shorter than generally acceptable for meeting parents but I had inch thick tights and practical knee high boots that made the outfit very "me" but still respectable. Also make sure its seasonally appropriate  That floaty maxi dress might be appropriate but you will just look silly wearing that in November! 
  • Bring a gift if appropriate  Even something small will make a good impression. I was meeting them all on brothers birthday so I brought a bottle of fizz. That ELB then embarrassed me about  as he kept mentioning it every 10 minutes. Bless him :)
  • Watch your language. I have an awful habit of swearing like a sailor no matter the company I keep so I consciously thought about everything before I said it. I'm sure over time the less offensive words in correct context wouldn't be so bad if its part of you, but on the first meeting you want to appear as ladylike as possible!
  • Talk about subjects you care about - if you enjoy your job, tell them why. Loving a TV show or book at the moment - ask if they've seen or read it. Be engaging, ask questions about them. Remember the idea here is to get to know each other better. 
  • Let them see you care about their son. A hand hold, sneaky peck on the cheek, smiling at him and complimenting him all show how much you care about him. HOWEVER - gushy smushy OTT PDA's and you will gross out the family - so be classy about it. 
  • If they subject you to a "lie detector test" it's probably time to leave....

Do you have any "Meet the Parents" success tales? What about any horror stories? 

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