If you have been with that special someone for a long time, you know it would happen soon enough: meeting their family. Meeting your partner’s family for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Get it wrong and it could be an embarrassing story that people are telling your kids for decades to come. If all goes well with your relationship, then these people will become your family too.
Here are a few tips for acing that first meeting and making yourself first-class son/daughter-in-law material.
Do your homework
Find out as much as you can about your partner’s family before you meet them. What they’re called, what they do, where they grew up etc. It will give you an opportunity to do a bit of research and have some talking points ready to avoid those awkward silences.
Look your best
By making an effort to look your best, you’ll not only give your partner’s family a good first impression, but it will build you up to your self-confidence levels too. Wear something you know looks good on you, or buy something new. Get a complete teeth whitening kit to brighten up your smile and get your hair done if you’re overdue.
Avoid any potentially contentious issues
They say you should never talk about sex, politics, and religion. Unless you’re absolutely certain you hold the same religious and political views as your partner’s family, this is good advice. Sex is something you probably won’t want to mention in any case.
Heated debate and disagreement generally don’t make a good first meeting. Save it for a later date when you all know each other better.
Follow the house rules
If you’re going to stay at someone else’s home, then it is good manners to follow any rules that they have, no matter how old-fashioned. Even if you’re in your 30s and having to sleep on the sofa rather than in the same bed as your partner. If the family gets up and has breakfast together at 7.30 am, appearing downstairs in your bathrobe at 10 am isn’t going to win you any awards.
Meet on neutral territory
When you see people meeting families on TV, it’s almost always at a big family dinner, where they are outnumbered and face a barrage of questions.
If you are really nervous, then going into someone’s home can be quite daunting. Instead, try to set the meeting at another location, such as a restaurant or museum. That way you don’t feel at an immediate disadvantage.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not
It’s a delicate balancing act when you meet your partner’s family for the first time. You want them to know the real you, but you also don’t want to come on too strong with your personality.
Perhaps you have a very dry sense of humor. People who know you well will get your sense of humor and find it funny. People who have never met you might think that you are being sarcastic or rude because they don’t know you yet. It’s something that works better over a longer period.