Meeting “the parents” is a timeless relationship hurdle that every couple goes through in some way or another. Whether you are introducing your new partner to Mom and Dad or to friends who are as close as family, it’s a huge step forward in any relationship.
What happens to you when you are the one meeting the parents for the first time? Your heart races, your hands shake, a million thoughts go through your head. You ask yourself, ‘What will I do if they don’t like or approve of me?’ ‘What if they think I’m ugly?’ ‘What if I’m not good enough for their son, brother … ? ‘What if I have a bad hair day or they think my breath stinks?’
Instead of torturing yourself, let’s investigate. Is there any easy way to meet the parents?
By the time you are at the meeting-the-parents part of your relationship, generally you should be able to say that you’re officially established as a couple. There is no gray area. You are together. Your immediate circle of friends should have met or at least heard about your new partner and your parents should at the very least be aware of his or her existence. If these steps have not been taken yet, you might want to take a step back from the introduction so it is not so shocking or awkward to all parties involved.
It is important that you reassure your partner of all the reasons you think they are wonderful. Remind them about all of the things you believe your parents will like about them.
A big mistake you could make is filling your partner’s head with stories about how your parents did not like your previous significant others. It would also not be helpful to tell your already-nervous partner stories about how your parents were judgmental in other situations. It will only cause your partner to get cold feet.
Even if your parents are hard to please, your partner should go into the event feeling comfortable.
Don’t let your partner go in blind. Have them prepared for what they are about to walk into. If they know ahead of time what to expect it will make things go a lot easier. Just remind them to relax and have fun. Your family just wants you to be happy and should be happy that you found someone that you like enough to take the step of introducing them.
Tell your parents to lighten up and keep the conversation easy. It is your job to orchestrate the night and how it flows.
Meeting the parents can be a nerve-racking step in any relationship. Having everyone on the same page will make the night better for everyone involved. Have fun, be prepared and avoid going somewhere for dinner that serves too much garlic!
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.