There’s no part of a relationship scarier for a man than meeting his girl’s parents.
Of course, the pressure he feels will vary from relationship to relationship. But if impressing the parents is essential to making the relationship work -- and it is -- then it's always going to be a stressful experience.
But this is a good thing. It’s good that you care enough about her to be stressed about meeting her parents.
The trick, though, is not to appear too stressed. With the holidays just around the corner, there’s a good chance that many of you reading this are going to be meeting the family for the first time.
So I thought it may be a good idea to give some of the men out there a few pointers for when it comes to meeting Papa Bear. It’s his little girl that you’ve been sleeping with, after all.
Here are seven tips that will hopefully make this upcoming holiday season a delightful one.
1. Dress to impress.
You may not be a gentleman, but play the part. Every dad wants to know that the man his daughter is dating is one who’s respectful both to his daughter and to his elders. And one thing that shows a sign of respect is your self-presentation.
Put in the extra time to get that haircut, shave and press your shirt. Make it seem like you actually prepared for meeting her parents because that’s exactly what her parents want to see. They want to see their daughter found a boy who cares enough about her to want to impress her parents.
2. Bring a gift.
Whether or not her parents are used to receiving gifts for these occasions doesn’t really matter. If they are, then it's good you brought something. If they aren’t, then you've surpassed their expectations.
Just be careful with what you bring. Do your research. You may not want to bring a bottle of whiskey because that may give the wrong impression. However, if her dad is a whiskey man, finding just the right bottle may open the doors for some male bonding.
3. Avoid too much physical contact with your girlfriend.
It’s no secret that you’ve been sleeping together (Well, hopefully it’s not a secret -- and if it is, hopefully your girl will let you know ahead of time). But that doesn’t mean her father wants to see you putting your hands all over her. There is such a thing as too much PDA -- especially when hanging out with her family.
At the same time, her dad does want you to show some affection for his daughter because, well, she's his daughter. He wants her to have a boyfriend who cares about her and is affectionate toward her.
You’re going to have to strike the right balance. Start slow with some hand-holding and gauge her parents' reaction.
4. Be polite and respectful of their beliefs and opinions.
You may all agree on everything under the sun and moon. It happens. But the exact opposite may happen, too.
What you don’t want to do is start an argument in which you try to prove that her parents are wrong.
No one likes to be proven wrong. If you try to prove her parents wrong, chances are you’ll annoy them rather than convince them.
However, depending on the man her father is, you may want to show him that you do have a backbone -- that you do have beliefs. You may not respect his, but you won't stray from yours.
5. Find something in common.
There is always common ground to be found. You may like the same sports -- maybe even the same teams. You may enjoy similar movies, music or wine. You can always find common ground if you try hard enough.
If worse comes to worst, you can both agree on the fact that his daughter is a wonderful girl. If all else fails, talk about how amazing she is and how lucky you are to have found her.
6. Get on Mom's good side.
Let’s be honest: Chances are that the mom is the head of the decision-making committee. If all else fails, impress your girlfriend's mother; her dad will eventually give in.
Of course, this isn’t always the case -- sometimes the man really does wear the pants in the relationship -- but it's often the mom who makes all the final decisions.
If you can manage to impress the mother and get her to see you as a nice and respectable guy, then the chances are higher that her dad will put up with you. And sometimes that’s all you can ask.
And if impressing the mother doesn’t work, just work on proving that all the father’s concerns are unwarranted. He’ll come around.
7. Don't stress. But also...stress.
You don’t want to be so stressed to the point that you start acting out of character. But at the same time, if you’re too calm, her parents may see that as lack of interest.
We stress about the things in our lives that mean the most to us. So it’s okay if you’re stressed out a little. It’s okay to be nervous. In fact, this may be to your benefit. Just don’t have a complete breakdown.