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The Opposite Sex: Meet the Parents

Posted by Brian Sprowl on December 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

It’s the holiday season, which means that it is time for family. And if you are in a relationship, this means that you will probably be meeting the parents of your significant other if you haven’t already done so. Well, this experience can go either really well or really bad. But for all intended purposes, this article offers advice to turn what can be a very nerve racking and stressful experience into a positive and pleasant one.

One thing that should be taken into consideration beforehand is how serious the relationship is and do you see this person potentially in your future. After all, there is no point in the two of you all meeting each other’s parents if the relationship isn’t serious. If you think that you and this person are going to break up next week, don’t bother introducing her to your parents or going to meet hers. However, if you are in a serious relationship where you think that there is a future between the two of you, then go ahead and keep reading.

First, advice for meeting the female’s parents:

When meeting a female’s parents, there are a few guidelines a man needs to follow. First, show the utmost respect. Showing respect will get the parents on your side from the start instead of making them the enemy. Ultimately, you don’t want to put your significant other in a situation where they have to pick between you or her parents, because in most cases she is going to pick her parents. Also, if you don’t show respect to the parents, then why should they trust you to show respect to their daughter. It is important to gain the trust of the parents from the jump.

Now there are many ways to go about showing respect. Here are some easy and simple steps that can be taken to show respect.

  • First, when you meet the parents, shake the hand of the father firmly to show strength, and hug the mother to show a soft, gentle side. It is important to show both to oblige both parents, because ultimately they want you to be both with their daughter.
  • Next, when walking into the house, remove any hats or caps, and oblige by any other requests that they might ask of you when entering into their domain. Now the hats/caps thing is really important. It is common courtesy to remove your hat or cap when entering into a building or home out of respect, but a lot of young men today fail to realize that and have to be reminded. Eliminate the being reminded part to avoid any awkwardness or potential casts of judgment too early.
  • When going to the dinner table, pull out the chair for your lady, and then push her chair in. Remember, chivalry should never be dead. The small things matter too.  
  • After dinner is served, offer to help whoever is washing the dishes a hand; at the very least, bring the dishes to the kitchen for washing if your request to help wash is met by a “no, thank you."

Overall, make sure that you are the perfect gentlemen, and just try to be the most helpful person there is in the house, especially since you are the guest. If you show manners towards the parents, then they will trust you to show manners towards the daughter when they are not around.

Now, when a female is set to meet your parents, the same end result is in sight. Just like how the man is trying to show that he is the perfect gentlemen, it is important for the female to show that she is the perfect lady. And much like it is the job of the man to impress the father; it is the job of the female to impress the man’s mother. So alert the female of any little things that the mother might not like or things that she should avoid doing to stay on the mother’s good side, and the father's for that matter. Tell her not to wear anything too skimpy or revealing because you don’t want her to send the wrong message or appear to be something that is unacceptable. Also, let her know that she too should offer to help the mother or whoever is responsible for clean-up, to show that she is capable and not above getting her hands dirty.  

Now in the course of conversation, one important piece of advice to remember is to avoid arguments, especially over touchy subjects such as religion or politics. Arguments with the right intentions can quickly turn into personal jabs and frustration, or even worse, violent outbreaks. If you are going to engage in arguments, let it be over something small and insignificant such as sports and favorite teams. Never argue over serious things because that can ruin a good first impression to the point that there is no going back.

The whole point of meeting the parents during the holidays is gaining the trust of her parents and the whole point of her meeting your parents is getting them to like her. If they like you, they will make it less difficult for the two of you to date each other, and vice versa.

Even if to a certain extent you have to act differently than how you normally act, it is still the job for you to be a better person around the parents than you are when you’re not around them. Obviously, some of these things you probably aren’t going to do on a regular basis and that is perfectly okay (even though you should do some of these things some of the times), but impressing the parents and getting their seal of approval is the key to taking the relationship to the next level. Yes, you can still maintain a relationship in spite of parents not liking you or your significant other, but for smooth sailing, it is best to get the parents on your side, and that starts with the first impression you make. And no better first impression is made than during the holiday season.

So happy holidays, and good luck meeting your potential future-in-laws!

Categories: Culture: The Opposite Sex

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