Have you get cold feet? You really don’t have to if you follow simple guidelines.
The general idea seems to be that getting acquainted with the parents is one of the worst-rating events in your adult life. But when we get down to considering it in earnest, we discover that it is a figment of imagination. What family would really be expecting to hate their child’s perspective partner at sight? As long as you don’t go out on a limb to be wonderfully likeable (and running a good chance to appear false and ingratiating) everything is bound to come off all right. And once you are past this first encounter, the way is sure to become easier.
So, the expert advice is there’s no reason to be uptight. Some nervousness is bound to set in, but you’ve got to know this isn’t half as scary as you believed it to be. As a rule, the S.O.’s family is ready to accept you for what you are as their child’s favorite person, and you can help them greatly by behaving naturally and seeing them as any other people (and not the in-law menace bad movies make them out).
Does it still look as if it were easier said than done? If the answer is yes, try out those hints that are guaranteed to take you far into the realm of peace and mutual appreciation.
Brush up on the family lore
It is highly likely that they have heard a lot about you (and your background) from their treasured child – so you can only gain by questioning in advance about the people who you are going to meet and what their general attitude might be. The atmosphere in the family: is it on the louder side or do they prefer to be quiet? Serious or inclined to be jocular? If you find out as much as you can about them, it will make it easier for you to match them in the round-the-table conversation and not to feel an outsider. Your partner, too, may like your being inquisitive about their family.
It’s quite an occasion for the one who is commonly the live wire of the company to dwindle down to a person who refuses to venture beyond the simplest conversational phrases – thereby producing a completely misleading impression. You can be winsome, witty, sound interested by putting in questions when the conversation shows the signs of flagging. The most customary questions like how the parents met or where they spent their childhood can set off a lively and interesting train of memories which may delight everyone present.
Your clothes have nothing to do with it
If you are intent to knit your brows over what to wear, don’t. You are not going to dress so that you could shock your hosts dumb or make use of the occasion to indulge in sartorial experiments, right? Most likely, you will dress as you do for such occasions, and it will suit your inner self. So choose the attire that will help you be absolutely you and perfectly comfortable.
Try to capture the atmosphere
You are going to enter a circle with a habitual range of conversational topics and their treatment. With some families they are serious ones like political or economic news that are approached in all earnestness; with others the most interesting ones would be TV shows and new movies. You may know about it beforehand, nevertheless when you’re on the spot, check the prevalent atmosphere and connect to it. Remember to be duly respectful when invited to express your opinion.
Forget your smartphone at home
When you are out with friends it is quite all right to receive and send text messages when necessary, but this is definitely the wrong occasion for such manners. It would be rude if you were to constantly check your phone for messages. It may be just a habit with you, but your hosts are bound to think you are bored in their company. Better leave your phone socializing until after the visit.
At first you may feel left out of things, which makes for nervousness and disappointment. If so, it is a good time to offer your help in preparations. You come across as a nice and caring person and it gives you a chance to get involved. When you are through with the dinner, you can help clear away the table and let your partner’s parents see how you fare in the kitchen without your S.O. by your side. Be ready that your offer may be declined and accept their decision with good grace.
You know that you want to be liked for what you are – so take pains to be true to yourself throughout the visit. If you try to hide behind a mask, chances are your spouse’s parents can feel you are faking your way out of the meeting. That will be unlikely to dispose them in your favor, and they may grow to believe you are always insincere. And if you attempt to show your best side, don’t overdo it – just be on your most polite without trying hard to win them over.