Meeting the Parents: Stressful Occasions
Okay so you have met the love of your life. You have been safely cocooned in your love nest and things have been going fabulously. You guys are getting pretty serious and its time to take things to the next level due to inquisitive phone calls from keenly interested parents. Lets face it, you are dreading it. Your private life is about to be held open to scrutiny by people you know to be scrupulously honest. This is dangerous territory dear reader.
The first danger is that your parents could confirm something you have already thought of but discounted. You know that they have a lazy eye but you don’t need it bringing up over tea and biscuits. Now we certainly don’t need a good time ruining so we hope that we are wrong. The next is that parents have high expectations and standards for their offspring and the person you are about to drag through their pristine front door is about to be interrogated like a war criminal. Woe betide them if they fail the interview as it can leave you feeling isolated. On the other hand its possible your parents could simply be embarrassing by pulling out photo albums of the time when you had Mumps aged 3.
Friendly parents are lovely and you will always feel far worse as the offspring than the love of your life who has never met them before because you are fearing the embarrassment factor. They are not. If your new love is flirtatious you can be driven up the wall by their over friendly behavior and your mom or dad taking a shine to them. There again you must also take into consideration the awkwardness that could ensue due to parental excesses and eccentricities. You may have grown used to your father’s liking from swinging from the branches of a tree in the garden but your date may be somewhat shocked.
Of course before any first meeting there is always that amazing briefing you get in the car on the way. Parents of course never live round the corner, but usually about 30 miles+ away. On the way you will explain about all the little foibles and eccentricities, things to watch out for, apologies in advance. Things to say and things not to say etc. My favorite was when I dated an Italian girl. I visited Florence to visit and had to formally ask her father permission to escort her after 10.30pm at night. I was ushered into his study where I appeared to have encountered Marlon Brando from the Godfather. Unfortunately he spoke no English. I had to spend 3 hours in there and we used sign language. He enjoyed my silly efforts and granted permission!
Then again you may be the visiting lover who is being introduce din which case you are either going to be not good enough for daddy’s little princess of mommy’s little soldier. Its a fact. Well that’s what you feel on the way and play repeatedly though various scenarios that could develop. What happens if the toilet won’t flush, what happens if I accidentally break a Ming vase or start cursing uncontrollably for absolutely no reason. And so the stress levels mount accordingly.
Usually when we get introduced to parents they are really looking forward to meeting us as long as we aren’t the 20th that month. Parents simply want their children to be happy in life and love and as long as their prospective partners are nice then that’s fine. Or so you think. Remember that at the back of the mind is the thought that you could end up being one of the family and who exactly will be paying for the wedding anyway! So it pays to make a real effort and be conscientious on this occasion.
If you mess things up you can be jeopardizing your own relationship so try and be on form, take a small gift with you and have your wits about you and your sense of humor switched up high. Is meeting the parents really that important? yes it can be, it depends on many factors like closeness of family and age etc. But in the end we all seek some kind of acceptance for our newly-chosen partner, we want to be told we have made a very good choice. And who better to do it than the people closest. A necessary hurdle that you must leap.
Things to Remember on a first visit:
- Be polite and show respect
- Don’t have a hangover from the night before
- Don’t ever refer to sex and your partner
- Don’t ask if you can sleep together at their house
- Take small gift with you that has been researched
- Refer to the parents formally unless invited otherwise
- Do not drink alcohol unless invited
- Never attempt to smoke, even in the garden or yard
- Never refuse food and drink. Accept graciously
- Do show humor and character but not too much
- Do think through some basic questions they may ask
- Do not be evasive about your work or career
- Dress well and look presentable
- Avoid any form of bad language
- Think of the entire situation as a small interview