You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why making sure you come across as the likeable, charming and delightful person you are is so important during an initial meeting, especially when the face-to-face is with the parents of the guy or gal you’re dating!
While meeting ma and pa can certainly be intimidating, Rachel Seliger, Community Manager for JDate.com, has five sure-fire tips to guarantee that a meeting with the parental units goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s what Rachel told us:
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1. Give it a Hot Second: My current boyfriend (who I met on JDate) introduced me to his parents on the THIRD DATE. He’s lucky he’s so sweet and that his parents are so great, or it might have been a major red flag! Give your newfound love a hot second before you schedule a brunch with mom, dad, grandma or any other member of the family you haven’t seen since Independence Day. In fact, you should even go one step further and officially have the “Are we exclusive?” talk before introducing your new partner to any family members.
2. Give Adequate Prep Time: While it’s best to wait until you’ve had “the talk” to meet the parents, you still need to actually tell the person you’re dating that you’re planning a meet-and-greet. Did I mention that when I met my boyfriend’s parents, he didn’t tell me where we were going? He said it was a “surprise.” That was the understatement of the year! Give your honey time to prepare for the meeting, so they can think about what to say, how to dress and all those important factors.
3. Dress for Success: Luckily I never dress ultra-casual (my go-to “casual” outfit is skinny pants, a silky blouse and statement jewelry), so when I unexpectedly found myself at my boyfriend’s parents’ house on a Saturday afternoon, I was ready! When dressing for a first date with the parents, you want to dress to fit in, but still show your true personality. Wear something that not only makes you comfortable, but confident as well. The more confident you feel, the less nerve-racking meeting the parents will feel. And it goes without saying that you should NOT wear something that’s revealing or suggestive.
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4. Come Bearing Gifts: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT show up empty-handed when you meet the parents for the first time. I don’t care whether it’s a bottle of wine, a bouquet of roses, a small box of chocolates, or even a personalized keychain (ok, avoid that last one), but you should definitely bring something. Bringing a gift not only shows that you respect your mate’s parents and are excited to make this new connection, but you’ll also make your own parents proud (and who isn’t constantly striving for that?).
5. Seal the Deal: This last tip is the toughest part. By now, you’ve discussed the meeting, had time to prep, figured out what you’ll wear and bought a small gift as a way to say, “Nice to meet you, I’m really into your son/daughter!” Now it’s time to put on your game face.
Show up to the meeting on time, be friendly, listen carefully to what both parents are saying, respond with some kind of engaging story of your own and go with the flow. In other words, just be yourself — but be the best version of yourself! Offer to help clear dishes at the end of dinner and remember to say how much you enjoyed yourself at the end of the night, and you won’t have to worry about figuring out how you can get that impossible second chance at making a first impression!