It’s all set up -- your boyfriend is going to meet your parents. You’re nervous. You don’t know if the conversation will flow effortlessly or if everyone will feel awkward and ill at ease. According to Don Gabor, author of How to Start a Conversation and Make Friend, most people are anxious when meeting strangers with whom they want to be able to connect and share new experiences. One of the best ways to help ensure the conversation goes well, say the folks at SucceedSocially.com, is to prepare for conversations, especially if your boyfriend isn't feeling so sure of himself when it comes to impressing your parents. Here are a few ways you can help make sure the conversation goes well.
Preparing for the Conversation
List topics you know your parents enjoy talking about. You grew up with these people; you have seen them in social situations with family and their own friends. You have probably noticed which topics of conversation engage them happily and which topics may make them uneasy. After you have listed several subjects they can relate to, rewrite the list in order from their most enjoyable to least enjoyable topics of conversation.
List topics you think your boyfriend would enjoy talking about. You have likely seen your boyfriend in a number of social situations. You know what he likes to do in his spare time, what he is studying or the way he earns his living. You know how open he is about his family background and other subjects that may be sensitive to him. Rewrite this list from best to worst topics of conversation from your boyfriend’s perspective.
Compare the two lists. Find topics that may be a point of connection for them. Perhaps your boyfriend plays baseball and your father is an ardent baseball fan. You could mention this fact when the conversation lulls. Your mother may be interested in buying a new camera and your boyfriend is an amateur photographer. This is another topic to keep in mind for quiet awkward moments.
Think of some funny or interesting experiences that you and your boyfriend have had. Telling stories like these have the potential to trigger further conversation.
- Your boyfriend and your parents are probably anticipating some awkward moments but they are also probably hopeful that they will like each other. Relax and listen to the give and take of the conversation. Remember, it is not solely your responsibility to keep it going.
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