3 Ways To Prepare Your Partner Before They Meet Your Parents For The First Time

by Annie Foskett

In high school, it was no biggie for your parents to meet your BF or GF. In fact, it was kind of inevitable. They may not have known the nice young person shaking their hand at the door was your SO, but after four "can my lab partner come over to do homework?" asks — they figured it out. Now you are an adult, and you probably don't live with your parents anymore. You might not even live in the same state as them. Having your partner meet your parents for the first time requires actual planning and logistics. #Serious.

Because organizing a time for your parents and partner to meet takes actual effort, the stakes are high when the meet-and-greet finally occurs. What if your dad brings up your super emo phase? What if your mom thinks bae is a dud? What if the waiter thinks your and your bae are siblings? As stressful as this rendezvous is for you, I promise that your SO is one million times more stressed about it.

Because you are a great partner, there are certain things you can do to prepare your boo to meet the fam. Here they are:

1. Break It Down For Them

When roles for actors on TV or in movies are released to agents, they are called "breakdowns." Think: "Hipster Barista 2: a sassy force to be reckoned with. Mysterious and good looking, this barista loves cats, but hates giving out the wi-fi password. Tattoos welcome. Ability to do a British accent is a plus."

Do this for your SO. Give them a breakdown of what to expect from your parents. Think: "Dad: very opinionated when it comes to Trump, and in true dad fashion, loves making dad jokes. He's the kind of guy who loves nerdy movies, but also can chat sports all day. Ability to express some kind words about Tom Brady to appease him a plus." As much as you've probably talked about your parents to your partner, giving them a last minute run down is extremely helpful.

And in terms of politics? "Nothing's worse than having a political fight at the dinner table," says Susan Winter, best-selling author and relationship expert. "Prepare your SO to avoid the land mines by sticking to congenial topics." I would agree with that. Even though my extended family is mostly on the same page politically, we still find ways to get into heated debates at the Thanksgiving dinner table every year. Tell your SO to keep the conversation simple.

2. Tell Them What You've Told Your Parents About The Relationship

Are you and your partner on the same page about your relationship? Is this a casual, my-parents-are-in-town-for-my-screening-and-you-are-my-date thing, or is this a long time coming, meet-my-potential-future thing? Make sure you know how you're treating this partnership. "Knowing where you stand in terms of your own emotional involvement will help you navigate this introduction," says Winter.

There's plenty of anxiety to go around when parents are meeting people they know have shared beds with their baby — creepy, but real — so don't add to it by being unclear about what you guys are. If you're treating the relationship seriously, be clear with your partner about how you've described the relaysh to your parents, so that nothing gets lost in translation. Say it clearly: "Just so you know, I told my parents we've talked about moving in together." Or, "I told my parents this was new, FYI."

Transparency is my favorite.

3. Explain Your Relationship With Your Parents To Them

Do you parents baby you? Do they love getting to know your SOs a little too much? Is mom going to show up with flowers, or do you rarely introduce them to people you are dating? Share all of this with your partner. Otherwise, your overprotective parents may come across as cold to your partner, and they might think they've done something wrong.

"Nothing's more infuriating than living an adult life of independence, then going home to be treated as a child," says Winter. "Our parents and siblings tend to 'freeze us in the past.'" While this sucks, it's reality. It's equally awkward to have a mom who's happy to make the "add 'in bed' at the end" joke when you all open your fortune cookies at the end of dinner. Explain how your parents treat you well ahead of time.

My last piece of advice? Choose the restaurant or coffee shop or drink spot you are all meeting at yourself. You are the only one who knows all parties involved, and you'll know best what the right environment for you all to meet at is. Also, make an entrance with bae. Parental judgment can be downright terrifying, so make sure your partner knows you're on their team. Oh, and maybe have a cocktail beforehand. You've got this.

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