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Miss Manners: Meet the Family

meet-the-parents

[I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the epitome of prim and proper- heck, who really is nowadays? But looking around at the misguided youths of today *ahem drinking buddies*, I’m starting to think that Miss Manners might have been onto something.

While you may never need to know how to greet a duke or how to tell which fork is REALLY the oyster fork, knowing how to deal with people whom owe you money, how much to tip, and how to address the ever annoying licorice-in-teeth conundrum without being rude might actually come in handy in the real world. I’m not trying to be your mother – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to know.]

This past weekend, my bf invited me to have Easter dinner with his family. After already weaseling my way out of both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, I knew I was going to have to come up with a GOOD excuse this time. Unfortunately, he caught me off guard and I think I stammered something along the lines of “Er… can’t…. brother… stay home… babysit… sorry!” into the phone. His response? “Great! Bring him with you.” Crap. So in honor of my 2 hours of awkwardness (kidding!!! uh..sorta), here is how to manage:

1. Milk your boyfriend.
[NO! Not like that! Put the udder down!] I meant for information. This is something I didn’t do but should have. It’s always good to know about his grandmother’s shopping addiction and his uncle’s super conservative political stance (“Of course I voted for McCain, Uncle Bob” *cough cough*) beforehand. Okay, so maybe you don’t have to get too personal with your digging (Great Aunt Ethel’s stomach issues), but always inquire about family traditions and taboo discussion topics before the meal. It helps to be prepared.

2. Greet each family member personally.
I know you want to suck up to his parents, but don’t forget the rest of the family. Be polite when introducing yourself and be prepared for anything from handshakes to hugs and kisses.

3. “Mr. and Mrs.”
I get it, we’re growing up. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Jones might feel more like Mike and Sue to you, greet them with respect and treat them as Mr. and Mrs. until they give you permission to refer to them otherwise.

4. Be prepared for 50,0000 questions
You’re the new girl and as such you will attract a crowd of curious family members like, well, a new girlfriend. Expect to be asked a million questions. Sample: “How long have you known blahblah?” “What are you majoring in?” “How old are you really?” “How many kids do you plan on having?” and “What are your intentions with my son?”

5. Stay out of family drama.
When drunken Uncle Bob gets into a heated argument with Grandpa about gay marriages, stay out of it. Your first meet-the-family function should definitely not be the time to seem disagreeable or garner enemies. If you must voice your opinion, make sure they know that you are well informed about the topic. Don’t get involved in age-old drama either. Smile and wait until the topic changes.

6. Bring a share-able gift
You certainly aren’t obliged to bring a gift, but if you do make sure it is something that can be enjoyed by everyone there. The clichéd bottle of wine will work just fine, but only if you are of legal drinking age (trust me, you don’t want to have to explain to his mom how you obtained the item in question. Plus it’ll make her wonder if you’re a drinker, which is never good.) If you’re a baker, bring desserts for everyone! Be creative. I love making chocolates, so I made a bunch of white chocolate candies for his family. So what if I chickened out and never took them out of my bag? It’s the thought that counts right?

7. Don’t drink…
Too much. Enough said.

Bottom line is, no matter how much you try to fight it, meeting the parents is pretty much inevitable. Just be yourself and when it’s all said and done, be grateful that you finally went through it – your man will find ways to thank you later.

    Comments

    Comments

    1. Sam says:

      I have to meet my man's parents soon. I'm so nervous.

    2. Samantha says:

      Agree about the gifts, because it makes a good impression. Same goes for boys; when you meet the girl's parents, give a gift to the mother and shake the father's hand. My dad remembered for MONTHS that my bf hadn't shaken his hand (and that includes months after we had broken up. Dude. It's important.)

    3. Suz says:

      I also kept making up excuses not to meet my bfs parents, then eventually I just gave in because they kept asking about me. But now he wants me to meet extended family, so far I have avoided all holidays and birthdays with excuses lol. I really am scared/nervous I might mess up.I wish I could get over it!

    4. Julie says:

      Even if you don't like the food being served(if there is food) make sure you try it or force yourself to eat some! When i first met my ex bf's parents, I only had a salad because I didnt like the other food. There were so many questions why I wasnt eating, suggestions about cooking up something then for me, it was just awful and embarassing. I feel like I made such a bad first impression

    5. Sunday says:

      I love meeting parents, my last boyfriend’s family lived really far away so I never got to meet them. As much as it is awkward and sometimes scary to meet the family, not being able to even after he’s met all your family is sort of disappointing. It’s like there’s a big part of his life that you don’t know much about. Besides I find the awkwardness somewhat entertaining.

    6. Candie says:

      I remember being nervous to the point of butterflies in my stomach before I met my boyfriend's family. Just be polite, friendly and smiley…ask them questions about themselves, you know, basic stuff. Don't worry, theyll love you…my boyfriend's parents do:)

    7. […] party before I got an angry phone call from her).  For others of us, this break was a time to meet our new boyfriend’s parents for the first time (and worry about making a good […]

    8. […] Anyway, while I do that, here is some suggested reading for you guys (and interested gals). Since I lack the appendage in question, I had to enlist my dear friend and urinal expert, Justin G., to clue me in. Enjoy! ** Warning: This post is pretty crude. If you’d much rather learn about something a lot daintier, feel free to read up on how to be a good house guest or what to do when you meet his family. […]

    9. […] – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to […]

    10. zhad says:

      Interesting, if a girl ever wanted me to meet her parents, I'd end it right there. And I would never want to have my parents talk to anyone I'm with. Try to keep inter-generational contact to a minimum shall we?

    11. […] – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to […]

    12. […] – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to […]

    13. emmers says:

      haha, oh zhad that's horrible! i guess it's more awkward if there's big holiday plans & maybe out-of-town travels on the part of either the family or the couple, but it's never been awkward for me to meet a dude's parents. of course, i'm living with mine, so if a guy comes to pick me up, mom is pretty much always going to say hi. i'm just my charming self when i meet HIS folks & it's just like meeting anyone new, easy :]

    14. autumn says:

      some of you are lucky. youre just meeting mom and dad. im meeting the entire side of his mothers family for thanksgiving dinner and im freaking out here. thankfully. cheesecake is amazing, and cheap……yay for cheesecake..:D

    15. jenn smith says:

      I am terrified I'm going to be spending the entire thanksgiving break from college with my b/f's family….run away

    16. rebecca says:

      I have been there done that with ex boyfriends families, but now I have a new boyfriend and for some reason I am terrified … I guess I am just being silly

    17. india says:

      I’m having to meet my new older boyfriends family at his neice’s 1st birthday in 2weeks, and I am majorly panicking on how to deal with certain members of the family I.e. Grandparents, his told me his gparents are forever asking him about marriage and children, not ideal for a 1st birthday gathering! Along with the fact of WHAT TO WEAR?! Please help!

    18. […] Uncle Bob gets into a heated argument with Grandpa about gay marriages, stay out of it,” advises College Candy. “Your first meet-the-family function should definitely not be the time to seem disagreeable or […]

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