The first time I met someone’s parents, I was 16 and super nervous. In boarding school, we could go months without meeting someone’s parents, even though we might have been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day together at the dining hall for months. I know that is not normal in high school, but this is in fact what can happen as you get older.
Meeting anyone’s parents as an adult should be a piece of cake– precisely because as an adult you should be confident in yourself, your accomplishments, and where you are heading. There is nothing to be nervous about, especially because your partner should not really be seeking their approval at this point.
The funny thing about meeting someone’s parents is that you think you have spent a lot of time getting to know this person, but those people created that person. They have known him/her since day one– and they usually know the good, the bad and the ugly. There is a lot of history there, and no matter how how much time you have spent with your significant other, these people normally have you beat by decades– so pay attention.
Listen to what parents brag about. Watch how your partner interacts with his/her parents. Are they all comfortable and relaxed, or tense and awkward? The relationships we have with our parents say a lot about us, and while some of us are able to break bad tendencies that we observed as children, unfortunately many don’t.
When you leave, think about what it would be like to have these people in your life. Even if you don’t see them every day or talk to them every week, they will be somewhat influential in your life with your partner. You may still need to coordinate holidays and special occasions with them, and someday they may even become the grandparents to your children. How would you feel about this?
In the end, meeting the parents is not an insignificant step at any age, and it should be given proper weight and consideration that has to be held in balance with the significance of the existing relationship. Going in with low expectations will help curb any disappointment, but even better advice is to go in prepared– dress nicely, be polite and think of it as an opportunity to learn more about your partner, who will love you just for trying your best to make that meeting go as smoothly as possible.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.