Here’s What Experts Recommend When Meeting Your Partner’s Parents, & It’s So Helpful
Relationships are full of milestones: your first date, first kiss, and first time meeting the friends and family, just to name a few. There are so many simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking experiences that you and your partner may have to face if your relationship gets more serious, and you start planning your future together. And while all of those milestones may make you feel a wide range of emotions, in my experience, meeting the parents can be one of the most anxiety-inducing ones — but it doesn't have to be! This is what experts recommend when meeting your partner’s parents, so you know what to do when the time comes. And fret not, their advice is super helpful!
It's totally normal to feel a bit nervous about meeting bae's parents for the first time. But when your nerves start to trickle in, remind yourself that you are a star, and bae definitely already knows it, which means their parents probably do, too. If you're still borderline freaking out, here are three pieces of advice from experts about meeting the parents for the first time that can serve as guidance and help you make a good first impression. Don't worry — you've got this!
Turn your phone off (or at least put it away).
When meeting with your partner's parents, you will want to make a good first impression and future good impressions, if things are going well. One of the very easiest ways to do that is to simply turn off your phone. This sends a message of that you value your time with them and that you are a considerate person.
— Dr. Gary Brown, prominent dating and couples therapist in Los Angeles.
Be the best you can be.
Put your best self forward. Regardless of what you think about parent-child relations, you are never going to cause problems for yourself down the road by making a favorable impression with your partner's parents. So be on your best behavior, but at the same time, be yourself. Be authentic but tactful. There is no good reason to lead with your worst character traits and, by the same token, no good reason to be deceitful by pretending you are someone you are not. If you have hangups, such as resentment toward authority figures or difficulty handling the pressure of meeting your partner's parents, check your baggage at the door. You can always alienate your partner's parents later, if you must.
— Grant H. Brenner, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
Be aware of family traditions.
You should be apprised of any family customs and expectations. For example, would your partner's parents feel pleased or disrespected if you were to call them by their first names? Or if you're at their home, and they offer food, in some cultures you, the guest, have to put something on your plate first so that everyone else can do likewise. Know the nuances, so that you don't accidentally disrespect or annoy your partner's family just because you were unaware of expectations.
— Anita Chlipala, relationship expert and licensed marriage and family therapist
So, if you think you and your partner might be taking the meet-the-parents step soon, try not to stress about it too much. Just be yourself, because they're going to see the same light in you as their child does. You're going to kill it, babes!