5 Ways to Win Over the Family

You've met someone special.  You've exchanged numbers, secrets, bodily fluids, and maybe even your house keys.  But someday soon your beloved is going to look up at you over your Sunday brunch and innocently mention the arrival of his or her parents next weekend.  Naturally, they want to meet you.  No need to panic, though, with our guide to a stress-free first meeting.

Parental Attack Plan #1: Plan what you can. 

Try to avoid formal (awkward!) dinners or special family holiday events.  Meeting his immediate family is stressful enough without having to remember the names of twenty aunts and uncles.  Make arrangements to do something.  Approach this crucial meeting like you would a blind date.  Instead of making the introductions the focus of the get-together, plan a visit to a local art gallery, car show or other cultural conversation-starter.

Parental Attack Plan #2: Do your homework. 

Ply your partner for details on his parent's lives.  What do they do for a living?  What are their hobbies?  Pay particular attention to any you might have in common or that you could talk about.

Parental Attack Plan #3: Don't ignore the obvious. 

Finally!  Someone whose eyes don't glaze over when you mention your honey's name!  Don't forget the obvious common bond between you and them — the shared love of their son or daughter.  Hit up Mom and Dad for funny childhood stories and share your own.  Just avoid bringing up any tales — no matter how cute — that involve sex, nudity, or too much alcohol.

Parental Attack Plan #4: Be polite. 

It should go without saying that you'll remember to say "please" and "thank-you", but you should also defer to them on what you may call them. If you're a guest in their home, be a good one.  Bring a bottle of wine when you arrive (or perhaps a small gift reflecting their interests) and offer to clean up after dinner. Sending flowers with a card mentioning how you enjoyed meeting them is a nice touch.

Parental Attack Plan #5: Dress for success. 

Just as surely as your man loves you in low cut tops, short skirts and sky-high stilettos, your boyfriend's parents will not. And guys? Ratty Journey t-shirts from 1982 are not appropriate attire. Finally, try to relax. Remember, it matters how much your honey loves you, not how much his or her parents do.

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