I remember when my parents initially met my husband. It was August 1997 and I was in that dreamy, can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you, phase with my now husband. I couldn’t stop touching his arm, holding his hand- as my mother mentioned recently it was kind of nauseatingly sweet. I honestly don’t even remember exact details of their initial meet and greet other than my parents brought my little brother along and my husband bought him one of those ships in a bottle.
And then we went to a restaurant during which time i basically proceeded to sit on his lap. And that’s the great thing about those initial stages of courtship-when you are so deeply, madly and passionately in love with this person that you only have eyes for him. So, when you are finally ready to share this person with your folks- what can you do to make that face-to-face with your motley crew of a family as seamless as possible- without him making a beeline for the nearest exit?! Here are some tips to help both parties pass this critical relationship test.
If this guy who calls himself your boyfriend can manage to get through a face-to-face with your folks without it resulting in the dissolution of your relationship, it will not only be a testament to his character but will demonstrate his commitment to you. So, what’s the best way to introduce him to your parents? Shannon Fox, relationship expert and co-author of Last One Down the Aisle Wins ,offers these five tips when planning that all important face-to-face with the rents.
#1 Never ambush your parents. Always ask if you can bring your significant other along or even better, make a special date with your parents with the sole purpose of getting to know him. You might be tempted to avoid the conversation involving Who is this guy? Where did you meet him? What does he does for a living? etc., but trust me; the meeting will go much more smoothly if mom and dad are aware of it beforehand.
#2 Always limit the time you spend with your parents on the first meeting. Plan the meeting over coffee, brunch, or a few afternoon hours at the most. The best first impressions can be ruined by a weekend guest who snores like the dickens, drinks all your dad’s coffee, or forgets to put the seat down before your bleary-eyed mom sits without looking.
#3 Never hold the first meeting on a major holiday. While you might not get home to see your parents very often, try to avoid bringing your significant other home for the first time during a major family event (ever seen the movie, The Family Stone?) It can be overwhelming for your boyfriend and feel imposing to other family members who are reluctant to adjust family time to incorporate a new person who may or may not become a permanent fixture.
#4 Always prep both parties. Let your parents know ahead of time what line of work he is in, what you like about him, and anything they might have in common. Prep your guy the same way, all the while resisting the urge to focus on your parents annoying quirks or overbearing tendencies. By giving them some background info, you will hopefully avoid awkward questions like, “How much money do you make?” and “How often do you go to church?”
#5 Never share past horror stories. This is not only an opportunity for your parents to meet your significant other, but for him to form a relationship with them. Don’t do them the disservice of shaping his opinions before he even meets them. Let him have his own story to tell your children someday about the day their grandpa met him at the door with a shotgun.