Meeting your partner’s parents is an unavoidable part of dating. Dreaded by most people as a job interview but differs from the latter in the respect that it’s something quite impossible to prepare for. Making a good first impression is crucial, but let’s be honest, if we’re not supposed to gel with the parents and we’re not the sort of people they would like, the first impression will quite quickly wear off.
Why is it so difficult to impress the parents? Partially, because they come from a different world which is not our “natural” socializing environment. If you’re a regular person in your late twenties, you’re rather unlikely to be hanging out with 50 years old silver foxes and vixens (unless you have a soft spot for them like our friend #englishrosiee). Therefore the skills and qualities your friends and partners may find impressive, e.g. drinking everyone under the table, burping out the whole alphabet or clapping with insides of your over-straightend elbows (guilty as charged), may not be equally admirable according to our partner’s parents values. Playing it safe and only saying what’s polite and acceptable by everyone may also not be the best option because we may end up being described as nice (even if with the quantifier “very”) which truly translates into “I don’t know what you see in this insipid girl but I can’t find anything too obviously wrong with her, after all she does have a pair of hands and legs and only one head”.
What is the key to impressing the parents or at least making them not hate us immediately? Being yourself would seem to be the best bet. Even though we think that the stress may make us slur incomprehensibly without drinking (if you’re a foreigner you can always get away with it by blaming it on your accent) or for no apparent reason stick a chopstick into our eye instead of our mouth (a bit more difficult to explain) that’s probably not going to happen. At the end of the day, we’re not going to be dating the parents (hopefully, it would be quite awkward) and they should and in most cases do understand it. All they want is for their children to be happy and if they have some weird possessiveness over their children as often happens in the case of single parents, who keep criticizing their children’s partners for the most made up reasons, the best you can do is not to let their issues become yours.
In brief, be yourself, try to behave normal and if it doesn’t make them like you remember that it’s not you it’s them 😉