8 Things you should avoid when meeting your partner's parents
Few things in life are more daunting than the first time you meet your partner's parents. Not only do you have to impress them, you also have to look good in front of your significant other - and you just know that any slip up will come back to bite you later on.
So what's the trick to making a good first impression? Well, as all parents are different, I can't exactly give you top tips on what you should do, but here's some things you should definitely avoid...
Take it from me - even if your partner's parents both swear like troopers after a bar crawl, you don't want to risk it on your first meeting. Follow your significant other's lead. If they drop the occasional f-bomb, then maybe you can get away with it. But unless you want to be on the receiving end of a truly terrifying 'dad stare', I'd leave the dirty language at the door.
2. Talk about politics
If there's one word that accurately describes all older people, it's 'opinionated'. Whether they're talking about their favorite sports team or how they like their steak, you can be sure that they don't like being challenged on it. It goes without saying, then, that you should probably keep your thoughts on Donald Trump to yourself - unless you know for sure that they're supporters of the same party as you.
In high-pressure situations, a lot of us will turn to a little bit of liquid courage to get us through. The trouble is, one drink can easily become two, and then three, and then - before you know it - you're showing your partner's mom the tattoo you got on your butt during your gap year.
4. Call them by the wrong name
First of all, establish whether these folks are first-namers or surnamers, because you don't want to 'hey Bob' a Mr. Johnson, and you certainly don't want to 'good evening, Mr. Smith' a casual Dave. Once you've got that bit sorted, REMEMBER IT. Same rules apply to abbreviations. Don't 'Steve' a Steven, and definitely avoid 'Marge'-ing a Margaret.
5. Call your partner by the wrong name
There are bad times for this to happen, and then there are really bad times. Obviously, the worst time is when you're - uh - 'in the moment', but arguably the second-worst time is when you're meeting their folks for the first time. You might think this is something that never happens, but, believe me, it does. It's like that moment in Friends where Ross gets Emily's name wrong, but somehow worse.
6. Try to be 'the funny guy'
I always think of the first-time introduction to parents (or any other relative, really) as a job interview. Your new relationship is the job you want, and your partner's parents are the ones standing between you and the promotion you've been dreaming of for a long time. So take it seriously, and don't keep dropping lame jokes in the hope that it'll win you their favour.
7. Be a suck-up
Being too chill with your new potential in-laws is always ill-advised, but doing the opposite is also a bad idea. You want to show them your personality, not your ability to compliment their curtains or their garden or something equally mundane. They'll catch on to your game, and they won't appreciate it.
8. Disclose private details
Again, this might seem like an obvious one - but some things simply shouldn't be shared with anyone who isn't your partner. I mean, their folks probably don't need to know that you met in a McDonald's at 3am. Or that you were both drunk out of your skulls at the time. Or that she went straight back to yours that same night. Just make up a nice story about bumping into each other at a park or something.
On the whole, these rules aren't particularly difficult to stick to - but if you adhere to all of them, you've got a better chance of getting in your partner's parent's good books. Of course, if they were determined to hate you from the offset, there's not much you can do. But hey, at least this way you'll avoid some embarrassment.