A Guide to Meeting the Parents

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Meeting the parents is hard enough, but throwing in holidays and your boyfriend/girlfriend’s entire extended family, has the potential to be disastrous. Many relationships develop during the school year and taking a significant-other home or to a family function for the first time is nerve-racking. With the help of readers, CM has created a list of tips and dos/don’ts:

“In my family, we have the newbies sing a religious hymn as a ‘prayer of welcoming’!” Cindy, Western Connecticut University

Be prepared for practical jokes: All families are a little crazy and joke around with one another. When meeting a significant other’s family, especially during a holiday party, accept that they will probably poke fun at you, but also note that it’s usually in good humor. This is usually a way of welcoming you and treating you like family. Give and take, and show good humor in response.



“Don’t make jokes about your sex life in front of their family!” Rawan, Seton Hall University

Be appropriate: Although joking around is a sign of being comfortable, be appropriate with the jokes. Laughing at family jokes is fine, but try to avoid pushing comfort zones just yet. 



“My family would probably make us sleep in separate rooms, but I would sneak away for a little at night to see him!” Kathryn, Marist College

Accept the rules: All families are different, so rules of the house will vary. Your family might be okay with your boyfriend sleeping in your bed, but his family may want you to sleep on the other side of the house. Respect the family’s wishes to gain their trust, especially in the beginning.

“Wear pants! I’ve made that mistake one too many times!” Matthew, Syracuse University

Dress to impress: Showing up dressed like a slob gives off a bad impression to your girlfriend/boyfriend’s family. For guys, be sure to wear nice pants and a nice shirt to show that you want to make a good impression. Sneakers, unless clean or new, are not usually a good idea especially for a holiday get together. For girls, do not dress like you are going to a club. Be appropriate and dress conservatively.

Baby steps: Be sure to meet his/her parents before the holidays. Meeting the entire family, extended and immediate, all at the same time will ultimately freak you out.

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