If your boyfriend has recently asked you to meet his parents, you may be filled with trepidation and dread, excitement and elation, or perhaps a little bit of everything all at once. Meeting the parents is, after all, a major event in any relationship. It is a sign that your relationship is progressing to a new level, and it is often viewed as a point where the two of you mutually agree that your relationship is a serious one with the possibility for a real future.
While you may be feeling excited or anxious for the big day to roll around, you likely are feeling a bit intimidated at the prospect of this first encounter with his parents, too. First impressions are often lasting impressions, and so it is completely understandable that you feel a lot of pressure to present yourself in the most positive light possible.
Preparing for that monumental first meeting is critical to making a great first impression. Merely the fact of showing that you have prepared for the meeting at all can make a world of difference to how his parent will perceive you and your relationship with their son. Preparing for the first meeting with his parents can also help you to relax and enjoy the moment. Feeling stressed and anxious is certainly uncomfortable for you, and these feelings can spread to those around you as well. Plus, when you feel more relaxed, you are far more likely to let how amazing you really are shine through so his parents can get to know you more easily
If you want to make a great first impression on your boyfriend's parents, there are a few things you can (and should!) do to prepare for your initial meeting.
Looks Do Matter. In an ideal world, what you look like doesn't matter, and who you are as a person is what will be important in a first meeting with your boyfriend's parents. While that may sound great in an idyllic world, in the real world, looks absolutely do matter. How you present yourself as a person says a lot about who you are, and so your appearance will speak volumes to his parents before you even open your mouth.
With this in mind, you will want to take time to pick out the perfect outfit for the occasion. Consider where you will be going, what you will be doing together, and of course what the weather will be like. You will want to dress sharp, but avoid over-dressing for the occasion. Your ensemble should be completely comfortable for you to wear, and should show off your best features. You also, however, want to avoid wearing anything that is too skimpy or revealing. The last thing you want is for his parents to think you are the “wrong kind of girl” for their son because you aren't dressed appropriately.
Further, you want your outfit to showcase your personality. For instance, don't dress overly conservative if you are a fun, carefree sort of person. Your wardrobe should be suitable for your age and your personality, as it will tell a lot about you right from the moment his parents lay eyes on you.
You also want to pay attention to those small but very important details of your overall look such as your hair, nails, and make-up. Make-up should be applied in moderation to accent your beauty without giving you that over-done look. Your hair should be brushed and styled, and your nails should be trimmed and clean. If you don't normally wear nail polish, even a clear coat of polish can help to give a finished look to your appearance.
Know What You Are Walking Into. Your boyfriend has likely already told you quite a bit about his parents. He may have described them as easy going, difficult to please, or something else altogether. Often knowing their general personality can be a great preparation for that initial meeting as it can help you to prepare mentally for their demeanor. However, you will want to learn more about them than just what their personalities are if you want to really be prepared.
Have a conversation with your boyfriend about his parents before your big meeting, and use this conversation to prepare for anything and everything that can pop up during your get-together. Take some time to learn their hobbies, interests, personal beliefs on religion and politics, educational background, career milestones, and more. You don't have to stick to the serious stuff, though. It can be helpful to learn about where they went on vacation, cities and towns they once lived in, favorite pets, and more.
So what do you do with all of this information? Well, you certainly don't want to present their lives to them in a book report-style presentation. Instead, you can use this information as a basic frame of reference for who they are as individuals. You can also use it to come up with some conversation starters for those times that will inevitably crop up when awkward silence fills the room. You can absolutely break that silence with, “So, I heard you visited Italy this past summer. What part of Italy did you visit?”
When The Big Day Comes. When you take the time to follow these steps, you will be prepared to make a great first impression. However, while preparing for the big moment is critical, there are some things you can do at the first meeting that will be important to pulling off a perfect meeting, too.
Essentially, you will want to treat this almost as you would a job interview. Manners are critical, as are being friendly with plenty of eye contact and smiles to go around. You don't want to hog the conversation by talking about yourself too much, but rather answer questions in a conversational way and use what you know about his parents to engage them, too. If siblings are present, you will want to include them in the conversation as much as possible, too.
You likely have some high hopes of your relationship continuing on, and perhaps one day these same people will become your in-laws. It may be too early now to tell where your relationship is headed, but in the event it does turn into a very long-term relationship, you will be happy that you made the effort to put your best foot forward for this initial meeting.