No matter your age — the idea of meeting your fiancé’s parents will fill almost any man with dread. No matter what you say or do, a woman’s parents will always continue to be a major influence in her life well after the two of you are married.  Here are a few helpful hints to help win them over.

  1. Dress appropriately. Nothing says more about you than your clothes — a t-shirt and jeans will definitely send the wrong signal. A button-down shirt and slacks are appropriate for almost any occasion.
  2. Be confident. When you meet her parents for the first time, smile and greet both of them with eye contact and a firm handshake. Don’t be freaked out if mom goes in for a hug. While that’s fine, a handshake is standard.
  3. Remember, you’re being judged. Amid all the laughter and good will, you may start to feel like you can do no wrong. While being confident is helpful, being over-confident is dangerous. No matter how comfortable they make you feel, always remember that they’re watching you.
  4. Be your (best) self.  Not the foul-mouthed brute you are around your best friends. Your fiancé obviously thinks you’re someone she can bring home to her parents so it’s time you prove her right.
  5. Show respect … and restraint. Keep your manners on full display — treat her folks with the utmost respect when you’re around them. When they come to your door, be there to greet them and welcome them in. If you’re visiting them at their place, pay her parents compliments about their home, their cooking and their daughter. Be sincere and don’t overdo it. Remember, a little bit of charm goes a long way.
  6. Play to your strengths. More times than not, her parents will be curious about something — your career, your goals, your education. Treat the encounter as you would a job interview and play to your strengths. Whatever you do, don’t overdo it and don’t lie.
  7. Ask lots of questions. Most people love talking about themselves, so when in doubt ask her parents questions about their interests. Think creatively and ask about things she has said to show you are listening. Whatever you do, stay focused and avoid controversial topics like politics.
  8. Relax. There’s nothing more unsettling than for her parents to think you are unsure of who you are. Be pleasant and cordial, but always be you.
  9. Remember to bring a gift. Especially if you’re meeting at their house, you’ll definitely get bonus points for bringing a small gift. A bottle of wine, even a cheap one, will be much appreciated.