How to Prepare When You’re Meeting Her Family for the First Time
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One really important thing to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to meet her family is that you’ve already gotten her approval, which is usually what matters the most. Sure you want the family to like you too and hopefully they will, but don’t get so overwhelmed by the concept that you start psyching yourself out and acting out of character. Your girlfriend probably wouldn’t be showing you off if she didn’t think that you had something worth bringing home, now would she. Here are some things to think about when you’re preparing to meet her family for the first time.
Dress nice, but like yourself.
If you’re a casual to sloppy type of dresser you might consider throwing on a dress shirt for Christmas dinner, but you still want to be comfortable and feel like yourself. Unless you’re some kind of fashionisto you need really want to be drawing a ton of attention to your outfit. It should be appropriate and flattering without being obviously out of place or questionable for some reason. But if you’re not comfortable you won’t be relaxed enough to act like the normal cool guy that you are, so there has to be a balance of some sort.
Bring them something, if you have something.
It’s always a thoughtful gesture to bring a gift to the host if you’re attending a dinner or function, but only if it makes sense. Bringing a bottle of wine is usually a safe bet, as long as they drink, but it will also get thrown into the mix of what they already have so don’t expect it to be too meaningful or remembered years down the line. If you bring something too random it runs the risk of just being odd, so bring something if you’re moved to, and if not, that’s okay too.
If you’re meeting at a brunch or something first time gifts can be a little unwieldy and aren’t necessarily. It certainly isn’t going to be the thing that makes or breaks you in their eyes. You could just as easily spend some time getting to know them and then wow them with something thoughtful and personal a few hangouts down the line.
Be honest and succinct when explaining your career.
These people are interested in getting to know the man who could potentially be legally linked to their daughter one day, so yeah, they’re going to be interested in what you do for a living. That isn’t meant to put pressure on you, they just want to know that you’re making a living doing something that’s meaningful to you. They might secretly hope that you’re super rich and can take care of their daughter so they can stop bailing her out, but they’re not going to say that. Just kidding. Kind of.
What you don’t want to do is come off in a way that show’s that you feel negatively about the work that you do. So you might not be exactly where you want to be, many people aren’t for a very long time. But the only way to get where you want to be in life is to continue growing from the experiences that you have in your current circumstances. There’s nothing with wrong with being on your way somewhere. Accolades and success don’t even really mean anything, what means something is how you feel about yourself. If you don’t feel good, try to keep that in for now.
But do feel free to throw in some of your future goals! Parents love goals. They know you’re a work in progress, because there was a time that you were living before you met their daughter and they probably think she’s life changing for anyone who gets to date her. (Hopefully she is.)
You also don’t want to come off as overly braggy as about your job. You don’t know what these people have gone through or done with their lives and you don’t want to come off as pretentious or a know it all. They’re older than you so they might know more. That’s awesome if you’re very successful, but bragging isn’t super appealing in any situation, and it definitely isn’t to parents who are looking out to make sure that assholes stay away from their daughter. Which brings us to…
Try to avoid being an asshole.
Try to avoid being an asshole to anyone for any reason. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be rude to them or their daughter in front of them, or ever. But you also shouldn’t be rude to the wait staff, or rudely regaling the tale of the jerk driver who cut you off on the way over, or giving a rude opinion of someone involved in a trending story. It makes you seem self involved and not at all concerned about their opinions of you, which makes you seem suspiciously overly confident and even pompous given the circumstances.
Sometimes people fall into the habit of asserting themselves through slightly negative or condescending behavior because it’s an easy go-to for feeling powerful. But that’s also the tactic that bullies use on a larger level, as well as certain politicians who will remain unnamed. It’s not a real thing. Yes you might intimidate people into doing things your way but they’ll hate you for it, and what kind of a life is that?
Don’t get stressed out by who they are.
The dreaded in-laws is sort of a cliché, but for good reason. We have a hard enough time getting along with everyone in our own families, why would be instantly bond with another random group of people in a semi pressured situation. You might find that you guys are all fast friends and her mom becomes the aunt you never had. Or you might go into slight shock realizing that these people are totally different than their daughter in the sense that they are uneducated/obese/Republican/loud/can’t hold a conversation or whatever else your worst nightmare might be. Don’t panic.
Yes you will have to spend some time with these people if you end up staying with their daughter, but they’re not their daughter. It doesn’t mean that she will grow up to be like them. She’s probably already fairly grown up.
Keeping a sense of humor through the whole thing is the kind of advice that it’s easier said that done, but it is helpful for breaking any tension. They probably want to impress you too, keep that in mind. Just because they’re parents with a grown child that doesn’t mean that they’re past the normal human feelings that involve self worth and all that. Daughters have a history of running off with boys that mom and dad don’t approve of, so they’re not going to try and alienate you if they can help it, no matter what they think of you.
Make it obvious that you like their daughter.
Let’s not forget why you’re meeting the parents to begin with, you totally like their daughter. This is probably one of the most important takeaways for them at the end of the day; they want to know that this is a good relationship. Parents usually think that their kids are above average extraordinary, and they expect other people to think the same thing. If they don’t think that you’re head over heels for the girl and respecting every move she makes like the princess that she is…they might not like you.
Of course they’ll also want you to be able to be a fair partner and keep in her line and accountable and present the way that great partners do, but they only want you to do that if you think she’s perfect despite her flaws.
You don’t need to be overtly mushy or pull out the PDA, but do remember to focus on her and not just on talking yourself up to them. Tell them a story about something that she did, or something that you two did together. If you have some one on time with a parent you might even honestly tell them what she means to you. Just be authentic while you do so and you’ll pass with flying colors.