Meeting your partner’s family is a big step in the relationship. If your partner has deemed you important enough to show off to the family, chances are the relationship is going pretty well.
Even for the most outgoing and confident of people, meeting their partner’s family can still be nerve-wracking. To help calm your nerves, consider these tips when meeting your partner’s family.
When is the Right Time to Meet the Parents?
Every couple is different and goes at a different timeline for the relationship. While some couples introduce each other to their parents within a few weeks, others wait a few months. Of course, several other factors determine when you’ll first meet the family. To begin with, geographical barriers are often a delaying factor. If your partner’s parents live across the country, arranging to meet them will require some planning.
Another factor depends on how close your partner’s relationship with their family is. If your partner has a very close relationship with their family, you may end up meeting them sooner rather than later! If there are family issues or divides, it may take longer to meet the parents.
Based on these varying factors, there is no one time that is the right or the best time to meet the parents. You and your partner will have to determine what works best for you. While you can encourage your partner to introduce you to their family, don’t push it. You want your partner to want to introduce you and to be fully ready when the time comes.
It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t have to be the same across the board. Maybe you want to introduce your partner to your family right away, but they want to wait a bit. It’s not a contest!
Tips to Keep it Calm
Get Educated Beforehand
Preparing in advance to meet your partner’s family can help things run smoother. As opposed to being blindsided with no background knowledge, try to gather information about your partner’s family before you meet them. Understanding the family dynamic and relationships can help you better understand and interact with the family.
When we say get educated beforehand, we don’t mean performing a full-on Facebook investigation. While you certainly can bring out your best detective work, it’s best to gather information from your partner. Start by asking them questions to prepare yourself to meet the parents. For example, you may wish to ask them “what should I know about your family?” or “what topics are safe vs. what topics should be avoided”? Any intel your partner can provide before you meet the family can help.
People tend to notice many things upon a first impression. One thing they’re bound to notice is how you’re dressed. Be sure to dress appropriately for the occasion. Going out to dinner? Think about the type of restaurant. Going to a pool party? Think about dressing modestly. Your outfit and how you choose to dress say a lot about your priorities and taste. As such, aim to dress nicely without being over the top. When all else fails, skip the trendy new outfit and stick with a classic, timeless outfit.
You may hear your parents tell you that technology is both a blessing and a curse. That’s because too often, the younger generation is on their cell phones at the dinner table. Meals are intended to be a time to chat with others, not spend time scrolling through Instagram. Your partner’s parents should receive your undivided attention when you meet them for the first time. Silence your phone, put it away, and don’t take it out until you’re gone! Sitting on your phone is one way to make a bad first impression.
While this tip may seem cliche, it must be noted. This quite possibly could be the most important tip when it comes to staying calm when meeting your partner’s family. The reason your partner has selected you is that they love who you are. As such, they want to share this person with their family. Remembering this can help you reduce some anxiety surrounding meeting the parents.
If you act differently around your partner’s parents, it will be obvious to your partner. Not only will it be obvious, but it makes things far more uncomfortable for you. As such, being yourself is the best advice for meeting the family.
Replay Answers in your Mind
Naturally, your partner’s family is going to have questions to ask you. How many questions they ask depends on their attitude, but it’s always good to have some answers prepared. While you don’t need flash cards or a word-for-word scripted answer, think about some of the questions that may naturally come up. They’re likely to ask you about your job, your education, your family, and your interests. Sometimes, explaining answers to these questions on the spot can result in anxiety. Try to think about how you might describe your job or your family to someone who knows nothing. Replaying these answers in your mind can help you prepare for every scenario that might come up.
With this in mind, it’s also a good time to prepare some questions to ask them. You want to get to know them just as much as they want to get to know you. If you know some information beforehand, this can serve as a conversation starter to keep in the back of your mind. For example, do you know your partner’s dad’s favorite football team? Ask them how long they’ve been a fan or bring up some recent news about the team. These conversation starters can help eliminate awkward silences.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
If everyone is enjoying a drink, it’s certainly fine to order a glass too. However, keep it to one or two drinks at a maximum. Drinking, even in small amounts, affects your ability to make decisions and think clearly. You want to be of clear mind when you’re meeting your partner’s family for the first time! Too much alcohol can make you say things you wouldn’t normally say. In any situation, limiting how much alcohol you drink is a smart move.
You’ve Got This!
With these basic tips in mind, you’ll do great meeting your partner’s parents. After all, they have faith in you so that means you should too. It’s normal to be nervous to meet the family of your significant other. However, it will surely get easier over time, as you have more and more interactions with them.
Meeting your future in-laws is a great step in the direction of the rest of your life together and if you’re considering getting married – think about getting a prenup! With HelloPrenup you can create a fast, easy, and affordable prenup from the comfort of your own home!
For more info on prenups, relationships, and wedding tips check out our other blogs here.
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