Dear Abby: Meet My Parents!
October 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm
With parents' weekend fast approaching, I know a lot of people are nervous about meeting their significant other’s folks. I have major sympathy for those of you who are stuck in the awkward position of wanting to avoid this happenstance at all costs, but consider your partner's position too! Even I have been on the other side of the spectrum--I had a boyfriend once who refused to be introduced to my parents for the entire sixth months we were dating. Ouch. I should mention that, when I did finally force them to get together, nobody came out happy or satisfied. The whole horribly awkward encounter could have been avoided had I only respected my ex’s--and my parent's--wishes. Please feel free learn from my mistake.
This leads me to my first piece of advice: if one member of a couple thinks it’s too early, don’t force an encounter. Particularly for you freshmen out there in cyberspace: I know it feels like true love, and if that’s so, it can certainly wait until Thanksgiving.
For those of you who are ready: Congrats. Here are a few quick tips for meeting the parents: First, clothing does matter. Do not be dressed in underwear (yours or your special friend’s) when meeting adults. Try to at least look put-together, if not perfect.
Furthermore, I know that with the impending election, politics is on everybody’s mind. That does not mean you may laugh in your girlfriend’s father’s face when he proudly states that Palin is the future of the Republican Party. While you’re at it, try to veer away from religion as well.
Finally, I know one of the reasons your boyfriend likes you is your quick wit. I understand that your quirky, irreverent jokes are part of the reason why you’re a “real relationship” and not just a casual hookup… however, some (read: most, if not all) of these quips need to be toned down upon coming together with adults, particularly the parents of your significant other. And, parenthetically, they do not think of him so much as “your boyfriend” as “their baby boy”… so let’s generally not make remarks flippant about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, at least until you’ve gauged their specific types of humor. Even then, caution is key.
Now enjoy that hearty meal at Pod/the expensive campus restaurant of your choice!