The Goods

Meeting your partner's parents this holiday? Here's how to make the right first impression

Andrea Bain’s advice might help you earn some serious brownie points

Andrea Bain’s advice might help you earn some serious brownie points

(Credit: iStock Photo/Getty Images)

The holidays are a time for family and friends, but it also means that it's a time for meeting family and friends — in particular, the parents. Meeting a significant other's parents can be intimidating, in fact, it's generally downright nerve wracking. Some of us have a tendency to freeze up when we're nervous, which means that our great personality don't get a chance to shine through all those nerves. Not only that, but we're often outnumbered by our significant other's family, which can set a lot of us on edge if we're already feeling judged. But fear not because The Goods' relationship expert has some advice to help calm our nerves and make the best impression possible when first meeting the parents.

Andrea recently received a letter from someone who needs help with this very issue, and she shared her advice for how to make a great first impression with her boyfriend's parents. Here's what Andrea had to say.

Dear Andrea,

I've been dating my boyfriend for a year and I'll be meeting his parents for the first time during the holidays. He's positive they will love me but I'm feeling nervous and want to leave a great first impression. How can I be sure to win them over?

Signed, please let them love me.

Be yourself

First and foremost, be yourself and stay true to who you are. Don't try to be something or someone you aren't. Sincerity always wins. Your boyfriend is with you for who you are — that's why he's bringing you to meet his family. Know that you're enough! Sometimes the parents are just as nervous to meet you as you are to meet them. Talk about your personal goals, passions, and interests, and the parents will quickly get a chance to learn what you're all about.

Be presentable

Dress to impress because first impressions are always very important. If you are super high energy, try to tone it down a bit but don't hide who you are. Think of it as a job interview — the type of meeting where you want to show off your top qualities and maybe leave some of your quirks at the door until they get to know you better. And always be respectful. If the parents are offended by tattoos, cover them up! Sure, you need to be yourself, but allow them to warm up to you over time. Most parents are pretty conservative, so try not to incorporate stuff into your look that might offend delicate parental sensibilities or that will be too distracting for them to focus on getting to know you beyond appearances.

Be thoughtful

Find out the parents' background and interests. Bring them a gift that's thoughtful and really shows that you put some time and effort into it. It doesn't have to be expensive — spending too much can send the wrong signal. Instead, find out what their favourite bottle of wine is, what baked goods they love, flowers that have some special significance, or even just a thoughtful card.

And be sure to find out what your significant other's parent's last name is. Don't assume it's the same as your partner's, because divorce can change names and you definitely want to avoid an awkward mix-up. Use this information to correctly address the parent upon first meeting them. They'll be impressed by your personal and respectful "Hello, Ms. Malone." Then you can leave it to them to reach out and say, "Oh, call me Martha!" This is a respectful way to play it safe and set a nice tone right off the bat.