Introducing your boyfriend to your parents for the first time doesn't have to be a stressful situation. Of course, you want things to go well and for everyone to like one another. And it's perfectly natural to worry that the meeting will be awkward or that someone will say something that totally embarrasses you. However, keep in mind that if you do a bit of pre-planning and try to remain calm and composed yourself, it's likely that the introduction will go smoothly. In fact, everyone might just have a good time together.
Get Everyone in the Know
Before your boyfriend meets your parents, give him some essential background information about their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and anything else that could come up that might be a deal-breaker for your parents. For example, if your parents are very loyal to a certain political party and your boyfriend votes for their political opponent, perhaps he shouldn't bring that topic up. Likewise, give your parents some background information about your boyfriend, building him up in a positive light and explaining his various characteristics, hobbies and personality traits that made you fall in love. Not only does this help everyone avoid any touchy subjects, but it also creates common ground between them and gives them something to talk about when they meet.
Set the Ground Rules
Discuss your parents' ground rules with your boyfriend before he meets with them. If he breaks any rules, while they may get upset with you, it will cast him in an especially bad light. That's because you're they're child who they love, but he's simply their child's romantic interest. For example, if your parents don't drink alcohol, let your boyfriend know this so he doesn't ask for a drink or order one with his meal at a restaurant. Or, if your parents are sticklers for proper etiquette and your boyfriend's signature fashion item is a particular hat, you can ask him not to wear it or remove it when he meets your parents. Further, if you're both staying at your parents' house, you'll want to let him know the rules of the house such as no loud music or noise after a certain hour. It's all about staying in your parents' good graces.
Fun for Everyone
Where you introduce your boyfriend to your parents can make or break the meeting. If you decide to let them meet in a restaurant, be sure to choose a restaurant and cuisine that's appealing to everyone. If the food leaves a bad taste in your parents' mouths, your boyfriend might do the same. In fact, you might want to skip the structured restaurant idea all together and opt for a first meeting that involves an activity. Again, choose something that everyone can enjoy. For example, if your parents and boyfriend all appreciate fine art, a casual afternoon perusing an art museum or gallery can be fun and low-key. This type of meeting can also help eliminate awkward moments of silence since everyone can just naturally discuss the art exhibits. Additionally, your parents will see that they have something in common with your boyfriend, which, according to a 2013 Psychology Today article, will help forge a positive connection.
Bring a Gift
Gifts are a universally recognized token of goodwill -- and giving one to your parents can help show that your boyfriend is responsible, generous and thoughtful. Help your boyfriend pick out something that your parents will appreciate, and then have him wrap it and give it to them when he first meets them. While this isn't necessary, it's a small way for your boyfriend to show your parents that he's invested in getting to know them better -- and also invested in your relationship.
- Journal of Marriage and Family: Parental Reactions to Dating Relationships
- Ask April: Introducing Your Date To The Family
- Glamour: 5 Ways to Make Sure Introducing Your Parents to His Goes As Smoothly As Possible
- HerCampus: Your Boyfriend Is Meeting Your Parents
- Psychology Today: 5 Tips for Winning Over Your In-Laws
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