Man in deep thoughts of what to do

Meeting your partner’s parents: do’s and don’ts

You thought nothing is scarier than asking someone out? Think again. Something even scarier is coming your way. Meeting the parents. But stop worrying now, we have got the ultimate guide to getting it right.

  • … your homework

    Drill your partner before meeting his or her family. What are the family member’s names and how should you address them, by their first or last name? What do they do for a living, what are their hobbies? Also, try to find some common ground with them. That way you can start bonding over similarities. But don’t overdo it and be natural about it.

    It might also be great to know if they are conservative in nature or quite liberal. That might help you decide how to dress, what to say and what not to say. Don’t forget to ask your partner about the parents’ habits and their likes and dislikes: you don’t want to find out that they don’t drink alcohol after you handed them a bottle of wine.

  • …bring gifts

    Everybody loves gifts! It doesn’t have to be anything big. But flowers for the mother and chocolates or a small toy for any kids around will definitely be appreciated.

    If you are joining the parents for a meal at their house, you can also offer to bring some food, like dessert. But, if you aren’t too familiar around the kitchen, it might be a better idea to buy a cake or a starter than end up with a major food disaster that the entire family will bring up at every get-together for the next decade.

  • … be yourself

    This might be obvious, but in the heat of the moment when you try to impress his or her parents, it might be easy to play a role of what you think they want to see. As tempting as it may be, don’t even try it. Their son or daughter loves you the way you are, and that’s the most important thing. Trying to be someone you are not will just end in chaos.

    Of course, the parents don’t need to know everything about you on the first evening they meet you. So be yourself, but be polite and keep the skeletons in the closet. And don’t forget to smile! It’s difficult not being nice to someone who smiles.

  • …forget your good manners

    Be on time. Being late doesn’t leave a good impression. Be polite, ask questions, be open and smile. While eating, watch others and follow suit. If they help themselves to seconds, it’s okay for you to do so too. If there is alcohol, have a glass if you want to, and then politely decline refills. A drunk future son- or daughter-in-law doesn’t bode well with parents. Offer to lend a hand with the dishes or with clearing the table, even if you are a man.

    Also, in the beginning, you should stay off topics that could be controversial, like religion, money or politics. You can save those for another time, and until the parents like you enough to not bad-mouth you over voting for the ‘wrong’ party.

  • … overdo the PDA

    PDA means public display of affection. Some families are quite reserved in this regard so ask your partner if his or her parents would be okay to hold hands or kiss in front of them. In any case, a full-blown make-out session with the parents sitting next to you is totally inappropriate! You can save the cuddling, snuggling and everything else for later, once you have made it safely through that first meeting with the parents. If in doubt, keep your hands off your partner. Better safe than sorry.

  • … be too eager

    The temptation might be big to try to make the parents like you at all costs. But don’t be too eager. You don’t have to be best friends with his or her parents. For the beginning, getting along is good enough. Being too eager can seem fake.

    Just remember that you are new to the family, and this is the time to get to know each other. Nobody should expect instant love between the parents and you. Love is for you and your partner. And if your relationship lasts, the parents will come around eventually.


    Have you got a tip to add to the list? Leave a comment here or on Facebook.

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Recent Comments (25)

  1. Thanks alot for the advice…
    Thanks alot for the advice…

    1. You are very welcome, Natasha
      You are very welcome, Natasha!

    1. We are glad you agree with
      We are glad you agree with this, Sharzie.

  2. thats nice n gud advice.
    thats nice n gud advice. thnks

    1. We are glad you like our
      We are glad you like our advice, Sharey!

  3. When meeting the parents is
    When meeting the parents is it ok to come with my friend or one of my relatives or i just have to be alone?

    1. Hi Densil,

      Hi Densil,
      I think this really depends on the situation. Is it a formal meeting? Or informal? Are many people, not just family going to be there? Are you going to discuss bride price? In general, a family member might be better than a friend, but then, it also depends on the friend. So- no clear answer, really, it all depends on the situation. Do what you and your partner feel is right.

  4. When meeting the parents is
    When meeting the parents is it ok to come with my friend or one of my relatives or i just have to be alone?

  5. Am happy for this site GOD
    Am happy for this site GOD bless u all

    1. Hi there,

      Hi there,
      we are so glad to hear that! Tell your friends about us and join us on Facebook, we are Love Matters Africa.

  6. thanks what am am suprised
    thanks what am am suprised she is not my girl friend bt best friend and she want to come home

    1. Hi Geoffrey,

      Hi Geoffrey,
      have you asked her why she wants to come home?

  7. between me n him,who shud
    between me n him,who shud meet whose parents

    1. Good question, Vanilla.

      Good question, Vanilla.
      You just started a big discussion among our colleagues- and we really can’t tell you. Some say the girl should go to the boy, and others say the other way around.
      So it might be the best idea to hear around what is accepted in your cultural/tribal background.

  8. In Africa flowers are not…
    In Africa flowers are not gifts

    1. Thank you for your…
      Thank you for your contribution. Key is learning about your partner’s family as much as you can before the meet.

  9. i agree wth u. plz help,…
    i agree wth u. plz help, resent we differed wth my wife and later i slapped her, when i was at the job she packed and she what me to visit her parent, am very scared to be beaten up wea do i start

    1. Hi Robert, is there a reason…

      Hi Robert, is there a reason that makes you feel that you will be beaten? Did she say why she wants you to visit her parents? Disagreements are normal in a relationship, but how you choose to resolve the issues is what makes the difference. It maybe important for you to start by addressing the issues that led your wife to leave before you make a decision to visit her parents. Also, you can consider bringing along your own parents or relatives to the visit. We wish you all the best. Check out the following article for more information;-

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