How to get your boyfriend's family to like you? There are no textbook answers to impressing your would be in-laws. However there are basic do's and don'ts to remember when you are going to meet your boyfriend's parents for the first time. Read on to take tips on how to behave, what to wear and what to talk about, when you meet your guy's family for the first time and get them to genuinely like you.
1) Dress appropriately when you meet your boyfriend's parents
Dressing to meet your boyfriend's parents can be a tricky bet. Tops that bore deep into your cleavage, a mini dress that leaves little to imagination or other revealing outfits are preferably avoided as they can give out a wrong vibe.
On the other hand, wearing something formal and extra decent can make you look like you are trying too hard to impress your boyfriend's parents.
Judge the occasion, environment and the audience to wear something that will allow you to blend in. Stay true to your distinct fashion style but if you think that your choices are absolutely opposite to those of your guy's family, you may want to tone it down for the first meeting.
Once you get to know them and develop a strong bond, you can revert back to your original style statement in full bloom.
2) Exchange cliché pleasantries
Bringing a bottle of wine for the hosts, offering to help after dinner, raising a toast to say thank you, complimenting the food, inviting the hosts to your place in return – these are common pleasantries that you may have exchanged while meeting other people.
Don’t try to be any different with your boyfriend's parents to make an impression on them. They may be waiting to see your finesse and grooming by closely watching how you exchange formalities with them. Don't go overboard either, else you may come through as snobbish.
3) Give a gift to your boyfriend's dad and earn his liking
You may be able to find your way into your boyfriend's family by impressing his dad first. Get to know his likes, dislikes and preferences to get him a nice gift. If his birthday is only a few weeks away, wait for the day and give your gift with a card that says Happy Birthday Dad in your own special way.
Men aren't too difficult to gift. You can choose from classic gift ideas such as a bottle of scotch, watch, pipe, cigar case, antiques, golf shirts, wallet, golf accessories or a gadget. You can narrow down your choices by knowing his choices.
Remember to give gifts of equal value to your guy's mother else she may frown upon being left out.
4) Be friendly with your boyfriend's siblings
Being friendly with your boyfriend's siblings, especially the younger ones, will instantly make you the talking point of their dinner table discussions. If you can make the younger ones laugh, giggle and have fun, your boyfriend's family will think of you as a fun person.
Making informal conversations with your guy's brothers and sisters is an easy way of breaking the ice with them. Don’t wait for your boyfriend's siblings to take a liking to you. Force your way into their hearts.
5) Initiate conversations with everybody
Your sole ulterior aim may be to impress your future mother-in-law, but that doesn't mean you focus all your energies in it and risk ignoring rest of the family. Doing this can make your motives very obvious, turning the whole situation awkward.
When you are with your boyfriend's family, take time out to start a conversation with every member. Give everyone something to remember you by and let them think highly of you. Think of this exercise as something similar to preparing for first date talk – You are out to impress, and nothing else.
6) Have precise answers to critical questions
Which degree are you keen on getting? Which area of work do you want to specialize in? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What are your career plans? What are your thoughts on marriage?
These are some critical questions that your boyfriend's parents may or may not throw at you. Vague replies may put your to-be in-laws off simply because you can come across as a girl who has no direction and no planning in life.
Rehearse the answers to these pivotal questions and be armed with precise and goal-oriented replies.
7) Compliment your boyfriend's parents' house
It does not matter whether you like the house that your boyfriend's parents live in, or not. Compliment their home and make your guy's parents feel good about themselves.
Most people are likely to have a biased and soft spot for their own house. By complimenting your boyfriend's parents' house, you will bring a smile to their faces.
Pick out little intricacies like the jar on a shelf or a picture on the side table. Being specific will make it look genuine and such talks often turn into aw conversation starters.
8) Don’t talk about sensitive matters
Matters of death, divorce, sexuality and finance can be delicate and can be sensitive topics to talk about with your boyfriend's family, especially when you are meeting them for the first time.
Parents can be wary of their son's girlfriend for a range of reasons. They may think that she is a gold digger, she may be emotionally damaged because of her parents' divorce, she may be after their son because he is too nice, she has nothing to do in life or a variety of other hypothetical reasons.
Stay away from talking about such controversial and sensitive matters until you have established a healthy relationship with your guy's family and got their trust.
9) Help around the house during gatherings and parties
When you get invited for a party or a gathering at your boyfriend's home, help his mom and everyone else by shouldering some responsibility for chores. Whether it is laying the table, sorting out leftovers or prepping desserts, take the initiative in helping your boyfriend's family around the house.
If you keep offering your help meekly and politely, you may be refused since you are likely to be treated as a guest for the first time. Hold your fort and don't just offer help – start helping. You will get your boyfriend's family to like you as you display your ability to take charge and get things out of the way.
10) Keep your hands off your boyfriend in front of his family
Giving him a kiss, holding his hands for no reason, a naughty pat on the bum, rubbing your hands on his thigh and all other forms of physical affection are better avoided when you meet his parents.
Giving your boyfriend a pat on the back while complimenting him or giving him a high five when he cracks a joke may be acceptable, but restrict your touching to that.
Being very touchy feely may make his family passively think that you are attempting to mark your territory or you are giving them strong signals to back off.
11) Be supportive of your boyfriend in front of everyone
All parents want their child to have a supportive partner and by showing support for your boyfriend in every way, you will be making a bold statement to his family that you are there for him no matter what.
Agree with him when he makes a statement and back his decisions up a hundred percent. Use affirmations like 'You are right' when he speaks something in front of his family. Laugh at his jokes, compliment his skills, encourage his career moves and give all the other signs of a supportive girlfriend.
His family will find peace in the fact that their son's girlfriend is a pillar he can lean on.
12) Spend time your with your boyfriend's family during holidays
Holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter are good occasions to visit your boyfriend's family without coming across as trying too hard or looking out of place.
Chances of your boyfriend's family being judgmental of you also may be less than any other ordinary day as everyone is likely to be in a happy mood. Avoid annoying your boyfriend or coming across as being too clingy by spending only some portion of the holidays with your boyfriend's family. Spend the rest with your own folks.
13) Stay in touch your boyfriend's family occasionally
Getting invited to by your boyfriend's parents for a meal is one thing and taking that connection forward is another. A couple of meetings or phone calls may not get you instant appreciation from your boyfriend's family.
Building and sustaining a good bond with anyone, let alone your boyfriend's family, is all about keeping in touch. Initiate communication by calling his mother or leaving an email to his father. If they reciprocate positively, you can take it further.
14) Go shopping with the women in your boyfriend's family
If your boyfriend has a younger sister, cousin or an aunt, you can plan a girls evening out together along with his mother. Go out to cafes, shops, malls or get your nails done at a salon. Do all the girly things you possibly can.
Impress the girls with your bargaining skills and your knowledge of hole in the wall places across town. Grab this opportunity to compliment your boyfriend's mother when she emerges out of the trial room while shopping.
15) Once you get to know your boyfriend's parents: Be yourself
Once you break the ice with your boyfriend's family, slowly start doing away with the formalities and establish a healthy and natural relationship with them. Stop your artificial efforts to make others feel better while you are at his house.
For example, if you are an introvert, you may want to make some effort to open up in the beginning. But if you try to transform yourself into a perennial marathon talker, you risk falling flat on your face. On the contrary, if you are an extrovert, you could possibly look at toning down your loudmouth when you meet his parents for the first time. Gradually, you can get back to being your noisy and energetic self.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.