Dating: Meet the Parents

It’s the scariest thing you can do to a new beau: introduce them to your family. In fact, it’s probably more nerve-wracking than the first kiss. Ranked slightly below the “I Love You” and definitely higher than introducing him or her to your friends, meeting the parents can be absolutely mortifying or terrifying, depending on your family.

With mine, I tend to only introduce them to guys I’m really serious about. I might mention a guy in passing first, to see what they think. Most of the guys I’ve dated went to high school with me, so my parents are familiar with their names already. It helps to kind of prepare them first instead of just popping up one night for dinner with this strange guy I’m googly-eyed over.

Also, try to prepare your boyfriend first, too. He’s probably WAY more nervous than you are (trust me on this), so prep him with details if he looks a little pale in the face! Tell him what your parents do, where they grew up, what their favorite hobbies are. Mention the same to them, if you can. And if you find any similarities, BRING THEM UP. It’ll help ease any potentially awkward conversations. For example, I tend to date guys who used to be Boy Scouts (I KNOW. But according to Boy Scout Law [I googled] they’re “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.” What’s not to love?), and my dad was a scout way back when. So naturally, I always bring up what they’ve done or worked on pertaining to the scouts so my dad can relate and they have at least something to talk about. Athletics? Hobbies? Sports? Famous family members? All of those are fair small-talk game.

Also, don’t do this too soon. It’s better to have your parents ask about your significant other than to just plop him into their laps. My parents take a very hands-off approach to my dating; they don’t want to be seen pressuring me to stay with a guy just because they “looooooove” him (which has happened). So they mostly stay out of the picture and just want to make sure he’s a decent, stand-up kind of guy (HELLO, *BOY SCOUT.* CHECK).

Just make sure you’re not bombarding your parents every other weekend with a new guy. It definitely sends the wrong message, will scare the guy off (I’m a commitment-phobe and just thinking about it freaks me out) and will just get more and more awkward. I want my parents to know that the guys I bring home are the special ones, guys I see sticking around for a long time.

I also try to do it in a place that won’t make my parents or my boyfriend uncomfortable. A restaurant is okay, but your home might be better. If conversation lulls, you can point to a picture and tell a funny story or find some cute knick-knack and have your mom explain how she found it on a beach in Cancun one summer or something. Imagine how you’d want to feel meeting his parents and apply it to this situation. A dinner with everyone at home, with some good old home cooked food is ideal. He can compliment the food (or you, if you’re visiting his parents), your family is together, he’ll sort of know what to expect ... it’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Yes, it’s insanely exciting to bring together two (or in this case, sometimes three) people you really care about. But please take it slow with this. Your parents will be more than understanding. And if they’re not? It’s your life! The best part? If your mom tells embarrassing stories about you, you know that his mom will probably do the same thing. Parents are pretty much the same across the board. They just want their son/daughter to be the happiest person on the planet.

I’m still not fantastic at meeting parents, but it helps to honestly just listen. Pick up what they like talking about (for my mom it’s knitting) and explore it. Be respectful, be honest, and be yourself. It sounds overly simple, but it’s true! Your parents and his just want to know that you’re good for each other.

Be the girl he fell for, and his parents will fall for you, too!

By: Alise Murawski | Image: Source


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