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How to Minimize Embarrassment When Meeting a Boyfriend's Parents

Updated on November 30, 2012

"Shackin' Up"

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Whether young or old, inexperienced or new to the dating world, meeting the parents is always a big, scary step. I wish I could say otherwise, but it really doesn't work that way.

To go through this process without feeling too nervous, insecure, or embarrassed, follow the tips below!

A Few Things to Consider

Before this event occurs, consider these few circumstances. They will give you a bit more insight into the situation, and will fine-tune these recommendations to you.

Age

How old are you and your boyfriend? If you're young, as in 18 or under, you don't need to worry as much. Be polite, helpful, and considerate.

If you're older and this relationship is much more likely to be on the marriage (or lifelong) track, meeting the parents might be a bit more serious.

Seriousness

Is this relationship heading for the altar? Or is it just for fun? Not sure? That's okay! Sometimes, it's better to not know where you're heading, and these family events can give you wonderful insight into whether or not this is a family you could tolerate.

Relationship Age

Are you just starting out or have you been together for a while? If the relationship is new, expect fewer "so when're ya getting hitched?" lines of inquiry. If the relationship's been going on for a while and this is the big, tense "meeting of the parents," it will be a little more stressful, but is still a great opportunity to check out the gene pool.

Event

Is this an easy-going meal or a big, extended family-packed holiday dinner? Sometimes, those bigger events are good because the pressure is off the immediate situation. But, you might get a few more inappropriate and awkward questions or conversations.

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Do you want to make a good impression?

Really, there are a variety of ways to meet the parents without freaking out. The first way is to figure out whether or not you care to make a good impression.

If you do, I recommend asking your boyfriend about their interests. Would his mother enjoy a gift of wine? Would his father enjoy that homemade bread you love to make?

If not, the only advice I really have is to be yourself. I'll discuss that more in depth later.

Tip: Pretend you're comfortable.

If you look terrified, everyone will be uncomfortable. Whether that means you need to have a glass of wine or just need to shake it off, find a way to be at home.

Ask questions.

Ask your boyfriend questions about his parents and their interests. Look for things you have in common. If his parents live for motorcycles and your father is an avid biker, bring that up. Share your knowledge and insight. This is like going into a secret code just for people in that little world.

Even more importantly, I like to ask what they can't stand. Does his father freak out when people interrupt him? Does his mother get offended if people don't clean their plates? Know ahead to avoid the drama.

"Meet the Parents: Tips and Advice"

Pick the occasion.

No one said you had to meet the parents over an uptight, stressful dinner. Perhaps you could meet the parents separately. For example, you could offer to help his mother with some project she enjoys and then meet up with his father for another task.

Plus, showing your strengths and ability to do things will help them see you're a capable person. You don't have to be pretty and perfect. Show what you're made of, and that impression will go a long way.

Do you really want the stress of meeting over a holiday dinner?

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Think about the future.

Alright, so the worst thing that usually happens is that "so when are you two getting married" question. I don't know why people ask that right off the bat, but they often do. They'll hint at "settling down," which often causes a flush to spread across my face. That's the last thing I want to talk about with some guy's parents!

But, it might come up. You don't have to set a date for a wedding right away, but have an answer ahead of time (even if it's just a "we'll have to see where this goes").

Tip on "So...how'd you meet?"

If you met a funny or unusual way that might be seen as inappropriate by parents, go ahead and stick with the "we met through a friend" line.

BE YOURSELF.

No matter where you want this relationship to go, it won't bode well if you pretend to love fishing to impress his family while you're gagging at the thought of touching worms.

Sure, that could show how much you want to impress them, but it also says you aren't comfortable in your own skin. Do not build any relationships on falseness or lies. If you're doing something you don't like or understand, ask for help or a little patience. You don't have to be perfect.

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