Guy's Guide To Meeting GF's Parents For The First Time
For those of you who are experts at navigating the minefield that is the first meal you ever have with your girlfriend’s parents, congratulations. You possess a skill that not many can boast of.
For the rest of us, we feel you. We asked around for tips from those who have been there done that to bring you this guide on meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the very first time (without making a total mess of things).
1. Don’t go in blind
Meeting your girlfriend’s parents isn’t the same as meeting a new bunch of friends. Like it or not, all parties involved are going to hold some form of expectations around the meeting and it’s your job to navigate around that.
Ask your girlfriend about her parents. Get to know them before they know you, so that you will always have a conversational topic at hand in case those awkward silences start creeping up. Most importantly, this will show that you’re actually interested and invested in their family.
2. Offer to help out
Don’t be that guy who sits around and lets everyone do all the work for him. If it’s a home-cooked meal, go over earlier and offer to help out in the kitchen. If you couldn’t make it early, offer to wash the dishes.
If it’s a dinner outside, offer to make reservations. If you drive, offer to ferry people around if her family doesn’t own a car. At least offering to help will go a long way in making a good impression, whether or not your help is accepted.
3. Be on your best behaviour
By this, we don’t mean for you to mould yourself into someone you’re not, just to worm yourself into her parents’ good books.
It’s always important to be yourself, but be the best possible version of yourself. These are people who are going to play a huge role in your future life, especially if you see a potential future with your girlfriend. You definitely don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.
We hope this is needless to say, but remember to also treat your girlfriend well! Naturally, her parents will be most concerned with whether you would be able to make their daughter happy and be a good life partner for her.
4. Prepare some gifts
This should be pretty basic courtesy. If you’re meeting someone new for the first time, it’s always nice to present them with some gifts as a token of your goodwill – especially if these people are your girlfriend’s parents.
If you have the cash to splash, go ahead and buy something luxurious like a bottle of wine or some artisanal chocolate. If not, though, a simple gift can still be just as heart-warming.
Pro-tip: Take note of any cultural taboos when it comes to gift-giving! If your girlfriend’s parents are Chinese, don’t give something like shoes or watches, unless you’re beyond certain that they would take no offence.
5. Be very alert about dynamics
Every family has very different dynamics and, sometimes, even tension. Learn more about your girlfriend’s family in the days leading up to the meeting to get a better idea of how different members relate to each other, including her own relationship with her parents.
During the meal itself, get your situational awareness on its highest level and watch out for how the conversational dynamic is flowing. The last thing you want is to seem daft and accidentally say the wrong things at the wrong time.
6. Offer to pay
When arranging for a first-time meeting, always be prepared for the scenario that you’d have to pay for everyone’s meals. If her family is big, it might be a hefty bill but hey, it’s a good investment, right?
Offering to pay at the end of the meal is a generous gesture that will also seal in a better impression of you. If her parents reject your offer and pay for the meal instead, take that as a bonus and not a given.
7. Enjoy yourself
This may be a lot to take in, but at the end of the day, try your best to relax and enjoy yourself. Your mood can affect others, so radiate positivity and enthusiasm, and you just might be a welcome addition to the family circle before long!