It can be the most stressful event swirling couples go through. After it happens, some won’t make it. Some will question everything. And some will come out stronger than ever. Which outcome will you and your rainbeau have?
Meeting your rainbeau’s parents for the first time doesn’t have to be a disaster if you prep yourself in advance. I go into great detail on how to do this successfully in SWIRLING, and if you’re nervous about the first meeting, I strongly suggest you download the electronic copy and read it in time for Thanksgiving.
Rules of Conversation
Information Gathering: Time to grill your partner, because to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Find out what topics are off-limits, because the off-the-table discussions can go beyond the standard politics and religion. Conversely, find out in advance what topics you boo’s parents love to discuss and capitalize off of that knowledge. For example, “John tells me you have a hundred-year-old coin collection. I’d love to hear about it,” or “I understand you used to play classical piano. I’ve always wanted to learn. Have any tips on how I can get started?” People love to talk about themselves. The more you let your rainbeaus parents talk, the less you’ll have to struggle to make conversation.
And a few more tips to remember:
Be tactful. Don’t ask your honey’s mother if she’s happy with her plastic surgery.
Don’t brag. It will be tempting, especially if you feel you you have to “prove” yourself in some way. Don’t be the one to check off your resume like you’re in an interview. Let your guys be the one who brags about you.
Don’t interrupt. This was a major hurdle for me, because my family were notorious for bulldozing over people when they were trying to speak. I thought it was natural until a friend pointed out how unbelievably rude it was.
Avoid no-meaning silence fillers. Bite your tongue before you say, “Um…like, you know,” separately or altogether in a sentence. It makes you look less intelligent and insecure. It’s okay to take a few beats of silence while you get your thoughts together.
Do’s and Don’t at the Dinner Table
Do say “please and thank you”
Do know which fork, knife and spoon to use at a formal dinner setting.
Don’t wear a ton of lipstick at dinner. Some will inevitably get on your teeth and it’s just awkward to the folks around you.
This should go without saying, but don’t speak with your mouth full. If you just have to respond, put the napkin over your mouth until you stop chewing.
Don’t put your dirty fork or knife on the clean tablecloth. Keep your utensils on your plate or in your hands.
And for the love of God, turn off that frickin’ frackin’ cell phone!