Meeting His Parents For The First Time? Here’s How To Make The Best First Impression

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating for a few months or a few years — meeting the parents for the first time is basically an anxiety attack in the making. Unfortunately, it’s also a necessary step if you want to move forward in the relationship. While your boyfriend has likely prepped you for the occasion, you’ll still want to make a good impression. If you’re nervous and feeling a bit lost on how to proceed, here are some tips.

  1. Get to know his mom. Like, seriously. Don’t dive into her full ancestral background during the first chat, but see what she’s interested in. If it’s something that you can’t really relate to, don’t pretend you share the same interests for the sake of conversation. Not only will this dig you into a hole, but you’re pretty much asking to get yarn needles and crochet hooks for Christmas every year. Take an interest, but be honest with yourself.
  2. Observe the mother/son relationship from a distance. Whether your guy is a mama’s boy or their relationship is a bit more distant, see how the two of them interact in the same room. Remember, this is a relationship that’s literally developed since birth, and all parents interact differently with their kids. You should NOT interfere with their relationship, because it will only backfire. Even if he seems kind of clingy to his Mom, he obviously has space for both of you in his life, so chill out.
  3. Consider bringing a small gift. By small gift, I mean something edible and delicious. If you can make a killer chocolate chip cookie, it’s polite to bake some and bring them over. Just make sure to ask your guy if his parents have any kind of dietary restrictions or allergies — it’d be pretty awkward if you bake up some walnut cookies before learning about her debilitating nut allergy.
  4. Try to tone down the enthusiasm. The best relationships need space and time to grow, so coming on too strong right from the get-go is a mistake you’ll want to avoid making. If you’re trying to outshine an ex that you know his Mom was particularly fond of, it’ll just come off as being desperate and awkward. Just because the two of them had a decent relationship doesn’t mean that she can’t move on and like you, as well. I mean, obviously your boyfriend had no problem with moving forward.
  5. Don’t be overly sensitive. Since you’ve been super nervous about this meet-up, it’s possible that you’ve heavily guarded yourself for any awkward moments. Not all parents are perfect, nor do they always know the right things to say. If his Mom or Dad spout out something that seems subliminally hurtful, let it go for now. However, if this pattern increases upon further meetings, let your guy know that you’re offended by the comments and see what he has to say. Chances are, he’ll pull his Mom aside and stand up for you in a way that won’t cause an immediate fight. Miscommunication happens all the time.
  6. Dress like a classy lady. When you’re entering someone’s house for the first time, you never know what to expect. Even if you’re typically in sweats, you definitely want to present yourself in an adult way for the first meeting. While you shouldn’t break out a ballgown, choose something your grandma would think you look “just darling” in. This proves that you actually view the meet-up as an important event.
  7. Keep the PDA light when the parents are around. Because that’s just weird. Not everyone wants to see a bunch of touchy-feely, and putting it all out there for anyone upon introducing yourself as a couple is just uncomfortable.
  8. Remember your table manners. You’re not typically a slob, but you and your boyfriend have been eating Lean Cuisines in front of the TV for about three months now, so you’re a little out of practice. Always chew with your mouth closed, no matter who you’re eating with. If you don’t have room to close it, you might be stuffing too much in your mouth at once. Eating too fast (“power eating”, as my friend calls it) also might make it look like you haven’t had dinner in weeks. While his mom’s cooking might be delicious, there are better ways to compliment the chef.
  9. Offer to help with the dishes. Even if you’re secretly hoping his mom says she’s got everything under control post-dinner (since honestly, you have no idea where she even keeps her plates), it’s kind to lend a helping hand, and further prove that you’re gracious for the food she just made for you. If she takes you up on the offer, that’s a perfect opportunity to bond.
  10. Relax. Parents can sense fear. And while it’s totally normal to be nervous to meet the individuals responsible for your boyfriend being a person, being your comfortable and kind self will automatically make everyone feel a lot more at ease. While these are two important people, they’re just people. And you typically have no problem interacting with people. You got this.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.