Tips for Introducing Your Boyfriend to Your Parents for the First Time

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Introducing your boyfriend to your parents is a huge step that should only be taken if you are serious about him and see a future together. First impressions are everything and you want to make sure your guy puts his best foot forward. Preparing your boyfriend well in advance on what to expect, what to bring and what to wear can go a long way toward making that first meeting a success.

The Meeting Place

Decide on a meeting place that is comfortable for all parties. Your boyfriend might be nervous at the thought of dinner at your parent's place, perhaps fearing they might drill him or aggressively ask about his future plans. Ask your parents if they would be okay with coming to your place to meet your boyfriend, where he might feel more relaxed. If your parents don't live in the same area and you are bringing your boyfriend to meet them, getting together for lunch at a local restaurant provides a neutral option that should make everyone happy.

What to Wear

What your boyfriend wears can make all the difference in how your parents feel about him when they first meet. If your parents are very traditional, your boyfriend doesn't need to wear a suit, but he might not want to wear jeans either. Khaki dress pants with a dress shirt would work. On the other hand, if your parents are far more laid back and even they will be wearing jeans, ask your boyfriend to go with a well-put-together casual outfit, perhaps something he might wear on casual Fridays at work. Tell your guy to go for dark jeans or Corduroys along with a a pullover sweater, as recommended by the "Men's Health" style team. It's better for him to be slightly overdressed than for your guy to show up wearing ripped jeans and a T-shirt.

The Right Gift

If your guy doesn't already know, inform him that bringing a gift for your parents is an essential part of making a good first impression. A gift is a token of good will and can be his first opening to your family's heart, according to etiquette expert and author Patricia Stossel. Bringing a fresh bouquet of your mom's favorite flowers is a timeless gesture. Let him know about any gifts that might be inappropriate. For example, a bottle of wine for Dad is a nice gesture, but not if he doesn't drink. Other options include a new board game, for parents who are avid game players, or, for coffee lovers, fair-trade organic coffee from an exotic locale.

What to Say

Guide the conversation when your boyfriend and your parents meet to keep things pleasant. Emphasize to your boyfriend not to bring up any hot-button issues such as politics or religion, especially if you know your parents have very different views than he does. Anticipate any deep questions you think your parents will ask and prepare your boyfriend so he can answer them respectfully and diplomatically. You should also give your boyfriend information about your parents' interests so he'll have positive things to talk about with them.