How To Prepare Your Partner For Meeting Your Parents

Introducing your partner to your parents is a big deal, there’s no way around it. If you or your partner is anxious about it, however, there are ways you can prepare for the meeting. Here are a few things you can do beforehand to make the introduction a success. After all, your partner meeting your parents is a big deal, right?

  1. Don’t scare them. We’re all embarrassed by our families, but there’s no need to exaggerate just how eccentric yours is. You want your partner to feel confident, not terrified by the stories you’ve told him about the most outrageous thing your dad has ever said in public or that time your mom showed up to your college dorm unannounced. Try to be neutral in your descriptions so that your partner feels informed but not overwhelmed.
  2. Make them feel extra loved. Nerves are inevitable, so you should make it clear to your partner that no matter what happens or how your parents respond to him, you will still love him and want to be with him. Make sure he knows that meeting your parents isn’t an SAT test; he doesn’t have to pass in order to get through to the next round. You’ve chosen him and you’re not going to dump him just because he had a rocky introduction to your family.
  3. Prep your family. You can avoid awkward silences by making sure your family has sufficient information about your partner. This will make them feel more familiar with him even before they meet, and will give them the opportunity to ask more personal questions. Tell them what you love about your partner, some of his interests, and a few of your favorite memories with him. This will give them plenty of conversational material that he can confidently respond to.
  4. Keep it early in the day. Think of introducing your partner to your parents like you think about a first date: dinner is too much pressure. You don’t want to find out that your parents hate your new partner over a fancy dinner when everyone’s had a little too much to drink. Go for coffee or lunch. The pressures of table manners and dress code are much more forgiving in the afternoon than they are in the evening.
  5. Give your partner some background. While it’s important not to scare your partner about your family, make sure he knows the basics. What do your parents do when they’re not working? What’s your relationship like with them? Are there any family dynamics that might help demystify the way you interact with each other? The more he knows them through you, the more prepared he’ll feel when the meeting happens.
  6. Find a neutral setting. Your parents might feel that it’s their responsibility to host you and your partner at their house, but you should avoid this if possible. Your partner would be in unfamiliar territory belonging to strangers, and that could make him feel disadvantaged. He needs to feel like he has authority and isn’t under a microscope. It is, therefore, preferable to make the introduction somewhere comfortable for all parties. Whether it’s a cafe or your own house, make sure that neither your parents nor your partner feels intimidated by the setting.
  7. Don’t wait too long. Introducing your parents to someone you’ve only been dating for a few weeks or months is no big deal. Introducing them to someone you’ve been with for months and are very serious about creates a high-pressure situation. Your parents might interrogate your partner about everything from kids to money, and may even be offended that you didn’t introduce them earlier.
  8. Ease them in with phone calls. One way to make the first meeting more comfortable for everyone is to introduce your partner to your parents on the phone before they meet in person. Whenever you’re on a casual call with one of them, put them on speakerphone and bring your partner into the conversation. By the time they meet in person, they’ll feel like old friends.
  9. Give your partner talking points. It’s difficult to avoid awkwardness altogether. Bringing your parents and your partner together for the first is an inherently uncomfortable experience because of how much is at stake. Giving your partner a cheat sheet of topics that he can discuss with your parents will help the conversation flow more freely, and allow him to get to know them on a more personal level.
  10. Relax. You are the only person in this situation who your partner and parents both know. They are all going to be relying on you to set the tone of the meeting. If you’re nervous and uncomfortable, they will feel on edge too. Ultimately, if you’re close with your family and love your partner, things will probably go just fine. The more relaxed you can be during the first introduction, the more likely they will be in a mood to talk openly with each other. Who knows? Maybe they’ll hit it off.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.