5 Tips For Meeting The Familyby Chiara Atik on April 21, 2011
Kate Middleton’s parents met the Queen the other day in preparation for the big wedding, now only a week away. (You: Do you have to relate everything back to the Royal Wedding? Me: Yes.) Kate’s met William’s family before, of course (they’ve been dating 8 years!), but this week she’ll probably be meeting all the extended relatives and acquaintances.
Of course, meeting the family can be awkward, even if you aren’t dating royalty. Below are 5 tips for making a great first impression upon first meeting your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents. (And if you ARE dating Royalty, just follow all the same steps, and also curtsy.)
1. Bring A Gift
Hopefully, Kate Middleton brought The Queen a rare pencil sketch in Da Vinci’s hand of “Lady With The Ermine” or something. You don’t have to be quite so fancy about it, but a little token, whether it’s chocolate, a bottle of wine, something from your hometown, or a bouquet of flowers, is both thoughtful and gracious. Everyone wants to think their son or daughter is dating someone polite and caring!
2. Be Excited To Meet Them
Ok, so you’ve been dreading it for weeks. Don’t let it show! Without being too obsequious, make it seem like spending an afternoon eating potato salad heavily doused in mayonnaise and talking about people you don’t know is exactly what you want to be doing that day. It makes people feel at ease, to not have to wonder if you’re bored or unhappy or would rather be somewhere else. And flattery, if it’s genuine, will get you everywhere.
3. Go Easy On The PDA.
PDA makes people uncomfortable, let alone the parents of the person you are fondling. Also, if you clutch each other’s hands throughout dinner or keep an arm possessively looped around each other’s shoulders, that is all people will be able to talk about when you leave.
You sort of want to be like “I come in peace!”, and prove you’re willing to recognize that your SO is their son/daughter in addition to your boyfriend/girlfriend.
[Observe Kate And William (in this instance, meeting "the press," instead of "the family," which is sort of worse). They DO. NOT. TOUCH. EACH. OTHER.]
4. Ask Questions — Don’t Just Answer Them
Also known as “making polite conversation” — if you’ve already talked about your college, your job, your family and your hometown, take a break and ask the parents something about themselves. Their jobs? Their house? Their hobbies? Anything to show that you aren’t just self-interested.
5. Go In With Low Expectations
Here is what you want your reaction to be when your friends ask you how it went the next day: “Oh, it was fine.” Meeting the family isn’t supposed to be a party, it’s supposed to be kind of awful. You’re lucky to get out alive. If you think the family is “okay” and they liked you “okay,” and the afternoon was slightly awkward but with no major disaster, you’ve won the game. And if, through some weird cosmic glitch, you end up really LIKING the family, then you are beyond lucky.