Ideas When Meeting Your Partner’s ParentsBy Angela Marshall, 18th Dec 2014
With the Holiday season coming up it is often the time we meet our partner’s parents for the first time. When going to meet them it can be daunting and you can feel very nervous. All families have their own style, habits and some can be good or bad but none of us are perfect. Some of us are more affluent, better educated, had better opportunities in life, but the one thing we can all be is polite, respectful and friendly. Instead of treating it as something to worry about, think of it in a positive way on how you will see and learn how another family lives, and how great it will be to meet your partner’s parents and learn more about them.
My suggestions on what to consider:
- Wear an outfit you feel comfortable in and represents your personality but not too outlandish. Something simple, tasteful and appropriate for the event e.g. going to a restaurant, visiting their home.
- Be on time – bad manners to be late and disrespectful.
- Address the parents as “Mr” and “Mrs” until they say otherwise.
- Follow your partner’s lead – watch if they are more relaxed or more formal than your family. Handshake or hug, follow what the parents do.
- Take a Gift – flowers, chocolates, plant or wine if suited and they drink.
- Use your Ps and Qs- remember to say please and thank you.
- Body Language – head up, shoulders back, sit upright in chair – look confident and remember to smile!
- Offer to Help – be useful, wash up, carry food to the table, and help to make the food if necessary. Ask if not sure what to do; all families have their own ways.
- Compliment where appropriate – like something in the meal, dessert, drink, item in the home.
- Be Prepared with Answers to Questions- make conversation; find out from your partner what common interests you may have.
- Be too quiet or too talkative – join in but no take over the conversation.
- Complain or be negative about people and things in work or school. Avoid controversy and be positive.
- Talk about politics or religion – especially if you know they have different views or beliefs to you.
- Get drunk – avoid over indulging with alcohol.
- Swear or use inappropriate language.
- Help yourself to a drink or food from the fridge or cupboard just because your partner does, wait to be offered.
- Expect all the attention – remember your partner has been part of their family and may get more attention.
- Display affection in public to your partner – avoid PDA, especially on your first meeting, parents may feel awkward and uncomfortable.
- Be late or too early.
- Be Rude – avoid offending people, being moody or answering abruptly if the family offend you.
The key thing is to be polite, respectful, and friendly and leave them with a good impression that you are a nice person. If you have special dietary requirements ensure you let them know ahead of time, preferably via your partner.
Enjoy and have fun!
Finally, remember to write a letter of thank you.