Just Be Yourself: 10 Things To Do When You Meet The Parents
As Regina George's mom once proclaimed,
Unfortunately, not all parents are as chill as Regina's mom; in fact, you'd be better off over-preparing for a strict parent rather than crossing your fingers for a “cool mom,” right? Right.
If you think about it, meeting your significant other's parents is very similar to interviewing for a job you want. You've made it past HR and you're finally talking with the CEO(s).
This interview can basically make or break your future if you give off the wrong vibes. If they aren't feelin' you, you'll be feelin' the door hit you on the way out.
Forbes created a list of 12 job interview tips that were surprisingly applicable for meeting the parents (granted, there are some tips like “Use Google Alerts” that are probably not relevant).
So, here's the modified, altered list of preparation you should complete before you meet the parents:
1. Do Your Research
You don't need to panic and ask your significant other to go into an extensive study session with visual aids of the family tree.
However, try to prep yourself and be knowledgeable about the easy things, like his mom's nut allergy or her dad's new gluten-free lifestyle.
This can save you a trip to the ER when his mom opens the door and you show up with a peanut butter and pecan pie. Yikes.
2. Be Able To Talk About Yourself
A hiring manager will ask you, “Tell me a little about yourself,” which is code for you to strategically list a bunch of your strengths and accolades and your major and where you went to school ALL WHILE simultaneously trying to sound interesting, well rounded, and… human!
To a parent, this isn't a code you need to decipher, but it also isn't something you should look over. Present the great qualities your significant other fell in love with and be confident with your strengths and characteristics.
Craft your “story statements” to lead to conversations that include relatable topics in order to reach common ground.
Having done your research on his/her parents, you can strategically integrate a few things about yourself that will relate to them, as well.
Did his mom used to dance when she was younger? What a coincidence! You are trained in ballet! Boom.
You have now become the favorite daughter she never had (hopefully she doesn't already have a daughter).
3. Make A Fashion Statement (Not An Exclamation/Question/Fragment)
Unlike a traditional interview, you won't necessarily be limited to a pencil skirt and blazer/button up and slacks, so let freedom ring in the fashion department (in moderation, of course)!
You might think you look excellent in high-waisted shorts, a crop top, thigh highs and combat boots, but his mom might think otherwise.
I'm not saying all parents are old school and will completely judge you for not tucking in your shirt or having too short of shorts. However, wouldn't you rather play it safe with some pants and a nice top?
When you're more comfortable with the family, perhaps it'll be fine to whip out the leather skirts and stripper shoes. Maybe.
4. Timing Matters
Schedules rule our lives, so if you have the option of getting lunch with the just the parents or getting lunch with the whole family at a huge reunion, choose the one-on-one time.
It might be more intimidating to be in such an intimate setting, but just imagine only having to impress the two of them rather than attempting to remember every aunt and uncle's name and answering questions about your future wedding. Yikes.
5. Clean Up Your Social Media
Though most parents probably cannot tell you what a “tweet” is, you can't be ignorant of those avid Facebooking moms and dads who have learned that there are other things to do on Facebook ASIDE from Crushing some Candy.
It only takes a few minutes to clean up your profile/customize the settings so they cannot see the photo album from 2008 titled, “What Happens in Cabo Stays in Cabo.”
6. Send A “Thank You” Note
Whether it's a card, a text or an edible arrangement, it's always nice to say thank you.
They had the choice NOT to meet you and NOT make an effort to get to know you, so a gesture of gratitude is more than appropriate.
7. Prepare Yourself For Weak Moments
There will always be disapproving/assh*le parents, and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with you!
There may also be mild to harsh jabs at you if Mom doesn't think you're good enough for her son, so prepare yourself for the worst.
Don't let them catch you off guard; you're a good person and they just don't quite know it yet.
Instead of shutting down, show them you're more than perfect for their child.
“So I hear you just got fired from your job? You're unemployed then? Hmm.”
“I actually left my job for many reasons, including a lack of growth and challenge! I'm staying productive and have plans for my future.
I'm not seeing this as the end of my life, but rather a new opportunity to go down a new path, and I'm so thankful to have the support of your son as I apply and interview every day!”
Don't let them see you sweat.
8. Don't Come Empty-Handed
Whether it's a holiday, a birthday or just another Sunday, you can never be too prepared! Just don't get too crazy and bring them ponies and new cars and dancing midgets when you're just meeting for a casual lunch (or you do you… and please be my son-/daughter-in-law).
9. Make Enough Of An Effort
Try hard, obviously, but don't try too hard. It can come off as insincere and fake. Plus, if your partner likes you, so will the parents!
10. Be Confident
The worst that could possibly happen is the parents don't like you and refuse to let you into their family, to which you and your partner will commence a dramatic and depressing part of your lives until your partner leaves his family forever and you two elope and move to Iceland.
Other than that, I'm sure it'll be okay.
Just remember to be you, and most importantly, think of this whole situation from their perspective.
Be the person you would be happy to meet if your son or daughter brought you home. Someday, maybe you'll be the bitchy and disapproving parent who thinks no guy or girl is good enough for your baby. Yikes.
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