Over this past weekend, I went home with my girlfriend to meet her parents. Typically, I am pretty good with parents. I grew up as a military kid, so I had manners and respect drilled into me from the start, which in this day and age, a little bit of respect goes a long way. However, I was still extremely nervous. Things in our relationship had gone very well up to this point and I did not want to mess anything up this weekend.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, I started to get really anxious. What would I do when I met them? Are they the hugging type or the handshake type? Are they going to judge me immediately from the way I look? I had all of these thoughts running through my mind. It got to the point where I even had a few dreams about it going terribly wrong. I constantly told myself to just breathe and be myself and if they like me, then great and if they don't, then its not the end of the world.
After a long, six-hour car ride (of me napping and her driving), we finally got there. It was nothing like I expected it to be and very different than anything that I was used to. I knew going there that I did have a small advantage; since her father is ex-military, I could use some of that military brat charm. Growing up, I was taught that first impressions are everything so I knew I couldn't mess it up. I gave her dad a solid handshake and the weekend just went uphill from there!
One thing that I definitely recommend doing when meeting parents is having activities planned. It helps relieve a lot of tension and awkward silences. Thankfully, her family seemed to be pretty good with relaxing and watching shows or a movie, which I wasn't going to complain about! Although we still did at least one thing a day, just hanging out was a nice way to bond. On Sunday we went boating for the day with her family and family friends. That was my favorite day. Everyone was super friendly and funny and we had a great time. That was the day that I bonded most and the one time I wasn't just trying to impress everyone.
I also recommend finding something in common with each person. For her dad, I talked to him about sports and for her dad's fiancé, I talked about cooking and life experiences. There was a time where I had a nice one-on-one with her dad while he was cleaning his boat. Alone time that isn't forced is a great way to get to know the parent and a great way for them to get to know you without interference. After that, I knew I had this weekend in the bag. The rest of it went very smoothly and I left their house with hugs and confidence.
It was a scary experience but it was worth it.