The idea of introducing your boyfriend to your parents can be both nerve-wracking and exciting. You are nervous about how your parents will react to him, or vice versa, but you are excited at the thought that your relationship is taking this next, important step forward. The best thing you can do is to prepare both parties in advance of the meeting so everyone can but their best foot forward.
Decide when to introduce him to your parents. Although there is no "right" time, dating expert April Masini stresses that you shouldn't introduce someone to your family unless you are sure it is someone you are serious about and plan to have a long-term commitment with.
Tell your parents about him. Let them know well in advance that you would like them to meet someone you've been dating for a while and tell them how you feel about him. Answer any questions about his career or schooling, where he's from and his family background. Present him in an honest, but most positive light to your parents.
Tell your guy about your parents. Inform him about their personalities and what to expect their reactions to be when they meet. If you know your dad likes to stare down your significant others, let him know so he can be prepared. Tell him about their hobbies so he can spark conversations with them.
Plan a meeting that would make all parties the most comfortable. If your mom likes to cook at home and your guy is comfortable going there for dinner, then set a dinner date. Choose a restaurant for a lunch date if your parents like to eat out and you know your boyfriend would be more comfortable in a neutral setting.
Ask your boyfriend to dress appropriately. If your parents are even a little traditional, showing up for dinner in a T-shirt and old jeans is inappropriate and may come across as disrespectful. A button-down shirt or a sweater vest with casual slacks would be more appropriate.
Let your guy know how to address your parents. Before the introductions, tell your boyfriend if your parents prefer to keep things more formal, such as being called Mr. and Mrs. Jones, or if they don't mind him calling them by their first names.
Initiate conversation after introductions. Keep the initial awkwardness to a minimum by jumping into small talk, perhaps asking your dad if he caught the game last night. If your guy is into sports, he could jump in and talk about the game as well.
Let your parents ask your boyfriend questions. Don't immediately jump into defense mode if your dad launches into questions about what his future plans are with you. It might seem like he's interrogating, but keep in mind that you told your parents you are serious about him and they want to make sure he feels the same way. Prepare your guy as best as you can for the "serious" questions and he should do fine.
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- A small gift can earn your guy bonus points, such as flowers for your mom.
- Avoid bringing up controversial topics such as politics and religion to prevent potential conflict.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.
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