How do you get his family on side right from the first meeting? Here’s match.com’s resident dating expert Kate Taylor’s advice.
Don’t expect to guess any tricky family dynamics that might be at play in the family – get the inside scoop first! Talk to your partner about each member of the family, what they like to do, what they dislike, what their “role” is among the gang (peacekeeper, drama queen, martyr, etc). This will help you be accepting towards the family dynamic from the start. What most families are most afraid of is being judged by an outsider, so the more you know in advance, the less you’ll judge them on the day.
For the first meeting with the family, it’s important to dress conservatively. You don’t have to look like you’re about to go to the office, but you do have to look like you’re showing respect for your audience. Nothing too sexy, provocative or scruffy. Think, clean, smart casual clothes. You can display your style allegiances through your accessories or jewellery, but keep your outfit modest.
Bring a gift
If you’re meeting at someone’s house, do bring a gift. Tailor it to the person who’s hosting the meeting, and ask your date’s advice before you go shopping. Make it appropriate to the occasion – a lovely bottle of wine and some chocolates if you’re meeting for lunch, a gift basket of exotics teas and biscuits if you’re meeting for afternoon tea. Spend about £15 - £20. Flowers are lovely but a plant would be nicer – it’s less fussy, and doesn’t require instant attention. Remember, his family will be as nervous of meeting you as you are meeting them!
You’ll never go wrong by being helpful. Offer to wash the dishes, offer to clear the table. Do everything you can to pull your weight without actually changing the routine the family are used to. Above all, fit in. Go along with the family’s ways of doing things. If everyone sets off for a 10-mile walk after lunch, I’m afraid you’ll have to join them. After the meeting, it would be sweet and good manners to send a very brief but charming thank-you note.
The family will hope you and your partner are developing a mutually satisfying intimate relationship – but they do not wish to see evidence of that actually happening on their sofa. Hands off! Any public displays of affection will be awkward and inappropriate in front of the family, so treat your partner with the same amount of passion you’d treat the family dog. If sharing a room is banned until marriage under the family’s rules, comply happily. You’ll have plenty of other times to be alone. Good luck!
Did someone you like leave tonight’s show? You can get in contact with them free now on online dating site match.com