Things are getting serious between you and your girlfriend, and now that you are about to meet her parents, the pressure is on. While some topics should be tabled when meeting her parents for the first time, you may have little idea of what else to talk about when you first meet. There are several possible topics to approach when meeting your girlfriend's parents.
Getting to Know Them
Before you shake hands with her parents, ask your girlfriend to give you information on her parents. Knowledge about their jobs, hobbies, friends and involvement with local groups or charities can give you conversation topics, according to TwoofUs.org's article "Meet the Family: Tips for Leaving a Good Impression." You can also ask your girlfriend to give similar information to her parents ahead of the conversation. A conversation is about give-and-take, so be prepared to answer any questions her parents may ask, such as those about your education or future career.
Topics to Avoid
Maybe you are passionate about politics, or your religious beliefs are near and dear to your heart. When meeting her parents for the first time, it may be best to table these controversial conversation starters, according to the Emily Post Institute in the article "Reuters: Talking Politics at Work and Home." If her parents bring up these topics, keep calm and say "I'll have to consider that" if you do not want to engage in the discussion any further. A heated conversation during a first meeting may be memorable -- but not in the way you desire.
You have learned about her father's job and her mother's passion for baking, so thinking of deeper questions to ask can be helpful. You might ask her father what his company does or what his daily work is like, according to clinical psychologist Susan Heitler in the article "How to Meet People at Parties: 7 Icebreakers," published by "Psychology Today." Asking her mother about her favorite recipes, or if she has cookbook recommendations, can help the conversation move forward. When out of ideas, think about the environment. If music is playing, you might say "I really like listening to country music. What are your favorite kinds of music?"
No matter how your first conversation with her parents goes, remember that you will have plenty of opportunities in the future to get to know them better. If you made a mistake during the first meeting, and her parents are upset, ask if you can meet them in person to discuss the matter. You might say "I am sorry that I was late. I realize that I made everyone wait for dinner." According to Beverly Engel, author of "The Power of Apology: Healing Steps to Transform All Your Relationships," in the University of Massachusetts Amherst article "How to Give a Meaningful Apology," making excuses for your behavior can further damage relations between you and her parents -- even if traffic did make you late.
- Two of Us: Meet the Family: Tips for Leaving a Good Impression
- Psychology Today: How to Meet People at Parties: 7 Icebreakers
- Emily Post Institute: Reuters: Talking Politics at Work and Home
- Emily Post Institute: Keep the Conversation Going
- University of Massachusetts Amherst: How to Give a Meaningful Apology
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images