Whether you are meeting your partner’s parents or extended family for the first time, you might be stressing out about impressing them. If you are, hopefully this list will help you out a little.
1. Stop trying. The harder you try to impress them, the less genuine and sincere you will be. You’ll come off like a jerk and a fake. So stop trying, or at least stop trying so hard.
2. Be yourself. Assuming you are a kind, loving, and helpful person – just be yourself. If you’re not any of those, count your blessing that you actually found someone who wants you to meet their family.
3. Offer to help. Offering to help is the easiest way to impress the in-laws. You can offer to help cook, clean, serve, pick-up, run an errand, or anything else. The simple gesture of offering your services shows people that you are outgoing and kind. Nice work.
4. Avoid the booze. I can’t say I’ve always been successful at this, but it would be best to avoid the booze while you’re spending time with people who haven’t had the chance to appreciate your drunken personality yet. Give them time.
5. Leave or send a thank you note. If they have you over for dinner or let you stay at their house, leaving or sending a thank you note is a very thoughtful and respectful gesture. It shows them how appreciative and thoughtful you are. Way to go.
6. Censor yourself. Yes, you should be yourself. But if “yourself” swears like a sailor, maybe you should put the brain filter “on” and weed out all the offensive language. Granny may not like to hear you compliment something by calling it “fucking sweet.”
7. Watch. Does this family hug? shake hands? nod? Matching their greeting style is as simple as watching how they do it. You don’t want to be giving your father-in-law a huge hug when he’s a “handshake only” kind of man.
8. Manners. This might seem obvious, but the usual please, thank you, your welcome, etc. can go very far with all generations. If you haven’t used those words in a while, practice. You don’t want to sound awkward when you ask for the mashed potatoes to be passed.
9. Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. You probably like to talk about yourself. While they will be interested in you, it’s important for you to show some interest in them. It shows that you’re not a narcissistic indvidual who always needs to be the center of attention.
10. Turn it off. Yeah, I’m talking about your cell phone. No texting, chatting, or surfing – or whatever else you’ve discovered you can do with your amazing technology. Turn it off, and call people back later. If you’re sitting on your phone the whole time, your in-laws are going to think, “rude,” and they’d be right.
11. Wait. Whether you’re just dating or married, nobody wants to hear you getting it on. If you are staying at someone’s house, just wait to do it until you go back home. You can wait. You can wait.
12. Be content. If you start whining about how bored you are, or if you even start hinting at it – you will only irritate and offend the people who are entertaining you (no matter how bad a job of it they are doing).
13. Sincere compliments. The most memorable compliments are not the superficial ones about clothing and hair styles. The best compliments reflect a positive insight into another individual: skills they have, ways they do things, personal qualities. It’s much more effective to compliment a mom by saying, “I’ve noticed how supportive and loving you are. You’re a great mom,” versus, “I love that dress. It’s so beautiful!”
14. Plunger. Before you decide to use the bathroom, think of some movies you have seen. Now look down. Do you see a plunger? Maybe it’s under the sink? Consider your next move based on what you find…or don’t.
15. The good towels. Never ever use the good towels hanging on the rack. If they look ratty and shredded, go for it. If they have lace and pretty stuff on them, find another towel, or use your pants or some extra toilet paper. Just don’t mess with the good towels. Stupid. I know.
16. Be nice. You’re going to obviously try to be nice to them. Yes, that’s important. But you should be extra nice to your partner. They will judge you based on how you treat your partner. So don’t pick fights or tease too much. Be extra sweet. Hopefully you are sweet all the time…but if you’re human, that’s unlikely. Just make sure you’re being genuine, otherwise you’ll just come off like a fakey creep.
17. Have fun. I’m sure you’re a fun individual, so this should be no problem. But have fun! We all enjoy spending time with others who are positive and know how to have a good time.