Meeting your significant other's parents for the first time can be stressful. Follow these tips to ensure that the meeting goes as smoothly as possible and is the start of a great relationship.

Get a Little Information Beforehand

As with most things in life, you'll have a much easier time meeting your partner's parents if you have a little bit of back story. Before meeting the parents, talk to your partner about his parents' hobbies and interests, and find out if there are any topics that should be avoided. Remember that the parents are probably a little nervous about meeting you, too. Being able to discuss a shared interest is a great jumping-off point that will put everyone at ease.

Don't Show Up Empty-Handed

If you're meeting your significant other's parents for dinner in their home, be sure to take a little gift. A bottle of wine, a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers is an easy and inexpensive way to make a great first impression.

Show Your Admiration for Your Partner (Within Reason)

Your partner's parents want to see that their child is in a happy, healthy relationship, so don't be afraid to show your admiration for your partner's character and accomplishments. Just remember not to take it too far. Complimenting your significant other is great. Too much PDA (or any PDA, depending on your partner's religious or cultural background)? Not so much.

Offer to Help Out

Set the table, help make the salad or lend a hand with cleanup. Helping in the meal preparation or cleanup shows that you recognise and respect the time that your hosts put into the evening, and it may be considered rude if you don't contribute in some way. Even if your partner's parents seem to have everything under control, at least make your intention of helping known. Not only does this help you in making a good first impression, but it shows that you can fit into the family dynamic.

Engage Them in Conversation

Your partner's parents want to get to know you, so don't be afraid to talk about your own family background, your education and job history or your personal goals. Feeling a little shy? Being a good conversationalist is surprisingly easy to fake. Most people love talking about themselves, and a few questions is all it usually takes to get them started.

Stay Out of the Family Drama

Hopefully your partner's parents would have enough sense to keep the meeting upbeat and positive, but should an argument erupt, keep your mouth shut. Even if you want to take your boyfriend or girlfriend's side in the disagreement, the last thing that you want is to be caught up in an argument with people you've just met.

Don't Forget to Say Thanks

Obviously you'll thank your hosts at the end of the evening, but don't forget to send your thanks a day or two later, preferably through a properly mailed letter.

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