Meeting your partner’s parents can be one of the least enjoyable relationship milestones, ranking somewhere below holding her hair back while she regurgitates a weekend’s worth of margaritas and realising she could win a gold medal in the Dutch Oven Olympics.
But no man wants to be the subject of disapproving looks from across the dinner table, or the main character in a horror story about shitty ex-boyfriends she’ll tell her future husband (not you) – so sack up, stay cool under pressure, and launch a charm offensive even the most dubious dad can’t deny.
To survive this all-important first impression (and the second, third, fourth, fifth…) adhere to these do’s and don’ts of prospective in-law interaction.
Get Your Stories Straight
Parents love to hear their children’s meet cute stories, so make sure your version aligns with your partner’s. You may have different takes on how your first meeting went down, or your partner may have embellished bits in previous tellings to their family, or their parents may be conservative and unlikely to appreciate the romance in your 3am Tinder hookup. You don’t have to weave a tale worthy of Nicholas Sparks, but you should know which answer to “So how did you two meet?” is least likely to end in an awkward silence.
Do Your Homework
You wouldn’t approach an important job interview without doing research first, and this meeting should be no different. Ask your partner for My Parents 101. Learn something about what they do, what their personalities are like, the family history, and any idiosyncrasies it would be helpful to know ahead of time (preferred names, unusual habits, political and religious leanings, etc). Early recon can help conversations flow more easily and soothe some of that first-meeting anxiety. Plus, asking your partner questions about their family scores you points because they know you’re making an effort.