How to Survive Dinner with Your Lover’s Parents

Okay, so you’ve decided to take things a little further in the relationship and meet up with your partner’s parents. If you’re a little nervous, it’s understandable. You might be worried about whether or not they will like you, scared you’ll say the wrong thing, or do something that otherwise gives your partner’s parents a bad impression of you. Don’t worry, I’ve pulled together some of the best tips to keep in mind during that prolonged and painful night.

  1. Arrive on time. 
  2. Wear nice clothing. You don’t need to go out and rent a tux, but it’s imperative that you look clean-cut. What you end up wearing depends on your personality. I suggest dressing in something nicer than a t-shirt and jeans, shine your shoes, clip your nails, trim the nose hair, comb your hair with gel, and whatever else it takes to look snazzy.
  3. Whatever you do, do not mention politics The first way to go wrong on the first dinner night with your partner’s parents is to bring up controversial subjects. It’s generally a good idea to abstain from mentioning politics in your average conversation, nevermind a conversation with elders who are judging your every action.
  4. Observe the family for tradition cues. If both parents are folding their napkin and putting it in their laps, it’s probably a good idea that you do the same. Mimicking polite behavior is an easy way to gain their acceptance.
  5. Compliment the meal. Moms (and dads) love it when you say something kind about the food that they just put in a lot of time to prepare. But don’t force it, or the compliments will sound like false praise. If you like something about the food, mention it. Simple as that.
  6. Chew with your mouth closed. If you haven’t already learned how to do this, now’s a good time to start practicing. If it’s a particularly hard concept for you to grasp, spend time chewing in a mirror.
  7. Ask questions. Remember, if you aren’t asking the questions, the parents are going to. And there’s not a lot of things more awkward than your partner’s dad drilling you about your future plans. Relax and have a good time. Keep in mind that these people are just looking out for their kid. If you know you’re a good person for your partner, you have nothing to worry about.
  8. Prepare yourself for the most difficult questions. While at dinner, the parents are likely going to ask after your job, your hobbies, plans for marriage, religion, education, and other various topics. If it helps, quickly review some of the biggest
  9. Ask your partner how their parents have reacted to past dates. You’ll have a better idea of what to expect, and if you’re lucky, you might learn what worked and didn’t from past dates’ experiences.
  10. And remember, be yourself. That’s the most important advice I can give you. If you aren’t yourself, your date’s parents are going to pick up on the incongruities fairly quickly. Love yourself for who you are, because you only have one life and it’s not worth wasting it being someone else.