Meeting Your Partner’s Family for the First Time

Posted by Kelleher International on Oct 24, 2014 2:56:00 PM


Halloween is just around the corner, and while many people anticipate an evening full of witches and ghouls, your thoughts may be dwelling on a much scarier event: the holiday season. While the winter holidays are a usually a wonderful time for romance, family and friends, they can be stressful for people meeting their potential in-laws for the first time. Meeting your partner’s family for the first time is especially scary because the focus of the meeting is entirely on you and everything you do matters (no pressure!).  Here are a few ideas that can help make your “meet the parents” moment go smoothly and successfully.

Do Your Homework

Before you meet the parents and everyone else in their extended family, it is best to have a conversation with your partner so that there are no surprises. No matter how long you have been dating, the potential in-laws will be assessing whether or not you should be accepted into the family. Find out as much as you can about his/her family beforehand, including information on their political preferences, hobbies, careers, likes and dislikes, etc. Ask you partner whether his/her family members have any major pet peeves, or if there are any taboo topics that shouldn’t be discussed. Bring something for your partner’s parents on the first meeting; flowers for their mother, and perhaps a nice bottle of wine or sparkling cider to accompany dinner.

Dress Appropriately

Choose an outfit that is crisp, stylish and smart. You do not necessarily have to don your suit and tie or best dress, but you do want to present yourself as clean and professionally as possible. Dress for the occasion. If you are meeting them over Thanksgiving dinner, a nice sweater or cardigan with a pair of slacks and dress shoes will fit quite nicely. If you are meeting them for something more casual, such as a college football game, a nice pair of jeans and a clean, form-fitting shirt will do. Ask your partner what manner of dress their family typically wears, and then do your best to fit in.

Remember Your Manners

Now is the time to really show off those manners you learned as a child. Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome are all important phrases to master, and you should avoid swearing, speaking too loudly, drinking in excess, complaining, and speaking ill of anyone. Never embarrass your date in front of their family, and leave off-color jokes and stories at home. If your partner’s family is cooking dinner, eat anything you are served and be sure to pay plenty of compliments, though you shouldn’t overdo it. Ask if you can help wherever possible, even if your help only involves clearing the dishes or setting the table.

Pay Attention to Your Partner

It can be easy to forget this simple trick. After all, you don’t want to appear too clingy or overdue the affection in front of their family. However, the way that you treat their child will go a long way in forming a first impression of you. Parents only want what is best for their child, so it is important to treat your partner with affection and respect. Show that you can take care of them, and that you cherish presence.


Whether you are meeting your partner’s family for a holiday meal or staying with them for a few days, their opinion of you can be either a major blessing or detriment to the relationship. In-laws can be difficult to handle at any stage of the relationship, but everything is much easier if you start off on the right foot. So prepare well, treat your date with respect and follow the advice above, and you are sure to do well!

What is the scariest or most awkward “meet the parents” story you have encountered? Let us know on our social media channels below and be sure to check out our romantic date ideas for the fall

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Topics: Dating

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