How to make meeting the parents go smoothly

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Simone Paget, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:43 PM ET

When I told my sister that I was considering giving online dating another shot, her immediate reply was:

“Ugh. Please do not make us meet any more of these guys.”

What she’s referring to is the “Meet the Parents Ambush” incident of 2012. Last year at this time I had just begun my first foray into online dating. I’d gone on two dates with a guy who I thought might have potential - until he took it upon himself to meet my family without giving me any warning.

We’d agreed to meet for a drink at the local pub. However, ten minutes before the date, he showed up at my house. I was staying at my mom’s and wasn’t expecting him, so when the doorbell rang my mom and younger sister rushed downstairs where they were met by a strange man they had never seen before. I wasn’t even sure whether this guy would make it past date #3, yet here he was introducing himself to my whole family. Thus began one of the most awkward “meet the parents” moments ever.

The kicker? The same thing happened again a few weeks later with a different guy altogether.

However, planned meetings also have the potential to go awry. I’m thinking of the time I invited a guy I was dating to Christmas dinner and he insulted my mother’s traditional fried Pierogies and Kielbasa sausage dish (“You know pork is bad for you. Pigs eat garbage. Also, do you realize how many carbs are in these things?”). Needless to say, he was blacklisted from any future family dinners.

Luckily, my parents are really laid back and handled both situations gracefully. However, things could have gone much differently. Many families take meeting a significant other very seriously and in some cultures it indicates an intention to get married. With this in mind, meeting the parents is a delicate situation that should be approached with care.

When meeting someone’s parental units, it’s wise to follow these two rules:

1) Discuss it first and don’t ambush - My parents are amazing people (who wouldn’t want to meet them?) however, they shouldn’t be subjected to every person I meet online - it’s bad enough that I have to be. Discuss the topic together and respect your partner’s judgement that they’ll introduce you when the time is right.

2) Be on your best behaviour - Mind your manners. Ask their parents questions about their interests. Listen to their stories. Don’t dominate the conversation. Compliment them. Smile. Be Yourself. Lastly, even if you feel like your arteries might burst, if you’re dating someone with Eastern European heritage, do not disrespect the Pierogi. Consider yourself warned.


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