The Guide to Meeting Your Date’s Parents

One of the biggest signs that a relationship is really moving along is meeting your girlfriend or boyfriend’s parents. But, just as this is something to be celebrated, it can be something that makes you really nervous. What happens if they don’t like you? What happens if you say something wrong? You only get one shot to meet your date’s parents for the first time.

Before we go any further, we do have to say that we think it’s awesome that you’re even here. The fact that you care enough about making a good impression on your date’s parents shows just how much you love your boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you really didn’t care, you wouldn’t worry if their parents hated you or loved you. But, because your boyfriend or girlfriend is important to you, what their parents think of you is also important.

In this guide, we’re going to show you exactly what you need to do to make sure your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents love you. We’ll give you some really awesome tips to help calm your nerves and make the best first impression possible on your date’s parents. And, if you try your hardest and it still doesn’t work out, we’ll discuss what to do if their parents don’t like you.

Tips for Meeting the Parents for the First Time

Meeting the parents for the first time can be scary. You’re meeting some people who are very important to your significant other and whose opinion probably carries some weight. If they don’t like you, it can really complicate your relationship and make family get-togethers a lot more stressful in the future.

But, never fear because you don’t have to go it alone. We’re going to give you all of the tips and tricks you need to know to meet your girlfriend’s parents or boyfriend’s parents.

Do Some Recon Before You Meet Them

You are lucky in this situation because you have a spy who cares just as much as you do about making a good impression. We’re talking about someone who knows these parents, knows what they like, knows what they hate, and knows what makes them tick. We’re talking about your significant other.

Your boyfriend or girlfriend has all of the information you need to make the first time you meet their parents a success. Use this to your advantage. Tell your significant other that it’s important to you that their parents like you. Obviously, they’ll understand this, but you’ll probably also get some brownie points because you’ll show them that something important to them is also important to you.

The biggest things you’re looking for here are what little things they like to see (politeness, knowledgeable, manners, etc.), things they don’t like to see (cussing, rudeness, PDA, etc.), and anything that they might be wanting to ask you.

We’ll cover all of these things individually in the next few sections as while all parents are different, they all seem to like the same things. Even if you don’t get any recon, following everything else on this list will ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance for success.

Dress the Part

We’re not going to tell you that you need to try and be someone you are not when you’re meeting your date’s parents, but there is nothing wrong with showing that you care with what you wear. For example, when you go to a wedding or a funeral, you dress up to show respect to the people there. When you go to a job interview, you dress up to show that you actually care about getting the job.

When you go to meet your girlfriend’s parents or boyfriend’s parents, you need to dress up to show them that their opinion matters to you. You don’t have to put on a suit and tie, but if you show up with your pants around your ankles or a shirt with something offensive on it, you’re going to be dead in the water from the get-go.

If you’re just meeting them casually somewhere, dress with as much class as you are comfortable with. Remember, you are trying to impress someone that is significantly older. That means they’re going to be less impressed by bling and style and more impressed by showing class and professionalism.

If you’re meeting them somewhere like a nice restaurant or event, make sure you do some homework and see what the dress code for that restaurant or event is. Whatever it is, dress towards the upper end of it.

Still confused about what to wear to meet your significant other’s parents? Dress like you’re going to church. Nice pants/slacks, a shirt with a collar, and some closed toed shoes. If you really want to look nice, tuck your shirt in. Even if they 100% know that you’re dressing up just because you’re meeting them, they are going to respect the heck out of that.

Be Prepared for Any Tough Discussions

Up until this point, your date’s parents have been getting all of their information about you second-hand from your boyfriend or girlfriend or anyone else in the family that you’ve met. Usually, the information is limited, and there are probably things that they want to ask you about. Yes, this means the likelihood of tough conversations is going to be high.

They’ll want to know what you do for work, if it’s a good job, what kind of a person you are, what drives you, if you have a good or troubled past, what your goals are with their son or daughter, what your life goals are etc. The list is really endless, but the chances are you know the areas of your life that they’re probably going to probe about. Getting recon from your date is extremely important in this area because it can prevent you from getting blindsided.

There’s really no way for you to avoid these tough conversations. That being said, you can do your best to be as prepared as possible. Try and guess what they’re going to ask you about and be prepared with answers. You can even practice what you’re going to say with your significant other or in the shower or mirror to yourself.

There’s a chance that they don’t ask you about anything uncomfortable, but parents have a great knack for doing just that. If you’re prepared, it’s not going to be any less awkward, but you will be ready with a great response. Even if they don’t like your answers, they will respect that you were willing to engage in the discussion instead of dancing around it and avoiding it.

Read: Dating Someone Religious When You’re Not

Old-School Manners – No Swearing, Sir or Ma’am

Your date’s parents are going to be older than you. They’re going to be old school. This means that they’re going to put a lot of weight on your manners. If you want meeting your date’s parents to go well, you need to be on your best behavior.

What does this mean specifically? No swearing at all. Even if their parents are cussing, you don’t know matter what. They are sir or ma’am unless they tell you otherwise. You would be shocked how far this will go in earning you respect points. Your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents grew up in a time where this was the norm. They’ll love the fact that you’re smart enough to realize that and make changes to appease them.

If you’re eating, chew with your mouth closed. Don’t eat like a pig. Don’t tell dirty jokes or talk about anything inappropriate even if their parents do. Sometimes people can have this double standard where they think it’s okay for them to do certain things but not for you. Don’t walk into the trap of getting too comfortable and letting your guard down during the first time meeting their parents. Down the road, maybe; but not today.

Cut the PDA – Keep Your Hands to Yourself

It’s awesome that you love your girlfriend or boyfriend and are physically attracted to them. But, the first time meeting your date’s parents is NOT the time to showcase that. A regular pop kiss here and there is completely fine, and it’s okay to hold hands. But, anything more than that should be avoided for this meeting.

Why? Well, this is their baby girl or baby boy, and you’re the one there to take them away from them. It’s going to be a somewhat hostile feeling, so don’t give them anything to get upset at you about. What we recommend you do is mention something to your significant other about this before you meet up with them. Let them know that you’d like to tone done any public displays of affection (PDA) for this meeting. That way they don’t think that you don’t like them or get weird.

There will be plenty of time for all of that fun stuff later when their parents are not around.

What Happens if Their Parents Don’t Like You

So, what happens if you do everything that we talked about above but their parents still just don’t like you? Well, here’s a few things you need to know. First, there’s a good chance that they like you even if they don’t show it.

Parents love to play the hardball game, so don’t automatically assume that they hate you if they are a bit cold and standoffish. The real answer of whether they like you or not will come in a comment to your boyfriend or girlfriend after the meeting is over.

Second, some parents just enjoy not liking their kid’s date. Why? We don’t really know, but it’s just something that happens a lot. The good news is that with time this starts to fade and they usually start to like you (as long as you continue to do the things we outlined above).

Remember, these are things that should be done not just the first time you meet them, but every time you meet them. It’s really not that much work, and it puts you in the good graces of his or her family.

If they don’t like you and refuse to after weeks or months, that’s okay. Some parents are just stubborn. At some point, they are going to have to get behind their son or daughter’s happiness. If they refuse to, that’s something they need to fix in their life.

As long as you are doing the best that you can to put the best foot forward and take care of their son or daughter, then that is all you can do. You can only try so hard.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.