I just heard the third installment to Meet the Parents (Little Fockers) will be coming out in December around the holidays. The original film, Meet the Parents with Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller, was a humorous look at the daunting task of meeting the parents of your significant other – which can be especially challenging when they aren’t exactly welcoming.
With four children of my own, I can absolutely relate to this milestone in a relationship and have always done my best to embrace the positive characteristics of the man or woman my daughter or son have brought home. I remember when my daughter first approached me about meeting her boyfriend’s mother and like many women she was naturally nervous of what to expect. Below are the top 5 “pointers” I shared with her to make the whole experience a little more comfortable:
• Be yourself! It’s tempting to morph into what you think they are expecting, but if if your partner is someone you plan on having a future with, the truth is bound to come out sooner or later. You want to build an authentic relationship with their parent who one day could potentially be family.
• Don’t do all the talking. Nervousness has a way of making many of us talk, talk, talk! We don’t want there to be any awkward silences so we fill them with as much noise as possible. Instead take that time to also listen and learn about who this person is and find out more about their background. Parents are a wonderful window into learning more about your partner and their own history.
• Don’t rely on alcohol! Liquid courage may “help” in a bar-setting, but in a parent’s home, this is an absolute no-no. The last thing you want is to say or do something you will regret so reach for a glass of water in lieu of liquor, beer or wine.
• Never be critical about your partner to their parents. This will be a red flag to his/her mom or dad and not a conversation you want to have the first time you’re meeting them.
• If they don’t take an obvious liking to you right away don’t beat yourself up. There are many people I’ve met who have formed opinions about their son’s or daughter’s significant other, but after the third time meeting them they have changed their minds. Also, if you are a good person and they just aren’t kind to you, the most important thing is how your partner feels about you. There are many couples who stay together even if they don’t have the most desired relationship with their in-laws; the hope is that it’s a relationship that can continue to evolve and grow.