How To Calmly & Politely Survive Your SO's Parents Friending You On Social Media

The modern day keeping up with someone is obviously following them on social media. Liking someone's post or retweeting them is the 21st century version of waving to your neighbor on the street, I guess. And since it's all very commonplace, if your significant other's parents follow or friend you on social media, you may initially think nothing of it, but it could be tricky to navigate later on while you're living your life. Do you censor yourself if you want to post something they may not like? Do you behave more appropriately to assure they'll approve?

Hannah, 25, initially thought it was cute when her boyfriend's mom, who's "religious and conservative" according to Hannah, followed her on Instagram.

"When I'm physically with her, I take care to present myself a certain way," Hannah tells Elite Daily. "But I can't keep that up 24/7 on social media. I find myself making compromises: I didn't post anything online at all on a religious holiday when I knew she'd disapprove of me using my phone. But when I stumbled across a 6-foot-tall floral display in the shape of a vagina at a work event, a sex toy party hosted by a Real Housewife — hi, I love my job — I decided to go ahead and post a photo of it, even though I knew she might think it's risqué. I'm still figuring out how to use social media in a way that feels authentic to me while remaining respectful of her. And I don't know if I've totally got it down just yet."

Hannah nailed it: Your social media is yours, but it's worth keeping in mind that your partner's parents may see what you post, should they choose to follow you.

I spoke with etiquette expert Lizzie Post, Emily Post Institute co-president and Awesome Etiquette podcast co-host about the proper etiquette when dealing with your partner's parents following you on social media.

Post says it's completely up to you whether to follow them back or not: Let the seriousness of the relationship guide befriending their parents on social media, she says. But if you haven't even met your partner's parents, it may not be all that appropriate for their first point of contact to be friending or following you on social media.

She says it's important to be as inclusive and welcoming to your partner's family as possible, but if you're really uncomfortable about it, talk to your significant other about it first. "It's OK to say no [to following them back], but be really delicate in doing so."

Post says having a conversation with that parent if you don't want them following you on social media (assuming you've met before) is a really tricky social situation.

"Explain to them, 'I'm more of a fan of engaging [with my partner's family] on social media once ... we've been together quite a while,'" she suggests. "For new relationships, I wouldn’t suggest that the parents reach out until couple feels more established." She also says it's possible for your partner to address it with their parent if you don't know the parent that well.

She also adds that the parent may feel a little awkward about not being allowed to view your social media since you're posting in a public forum. "It's hard when you’re posting things publicly, to say, 'No I don’t want you to be part of that.' You need to back that up confidently if you’re gonna go that route."

Ultimately, Post says, you want everything to be as friendly and warm as possible with your partner's parents. "Start considering opening up to them and including them in this world that you share with other family and friends in your life."

They probably only want to keep up with your social media to get to know you better, and likely have the most positive intentions in following you online.

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