Top Seven Survival Tips for Introducing Your Parents to Your In-Laws
As the bliss of your new engagement washes over you, you may come to a sudden (and sometimes terrifying) realization: You need to arrange a meeting between your parents and your future in-laws as soon as possible. Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. The first meeting of “the parents” is actually a fantastic opportunity to forge a new family dynamic that will continue throughout the course of your marriage. Of course, it’s important to build a solid foundation for this relationship during the first-meet. To help things go as smoothly as possible, consider taking a piece of advice or two from our tip list below.
Pick the Right Time
The sooner you can get everyone together, the better. If possible, don’t wait until the day before your wedding to introduce everyone. Make arrangements for a meeting right after you get engaged, when your parents and future in-laws are likely to be riding on a high of jubilation. The closer you get to your wedding day, the more tense everyone might be. If this isn’t possible due to distance or other circumstances, arrange for introductions via phone call or FaceTime.
Meet in a Neutral Location
Even the most “zen” parent is likely to be a little nervous during the first meeting. The best way to calm everyone? Meet at a nice restaurant -- not someone’s house. No one wants to be scrambling around playing host while they are trying to get to know someone. Having a nice meal in a quiet, calming setting will immediately take the pressure off of both parties.
Give Them a Heads Up
It’s important tell your parents what might await them during the first meeting. Give your parents a little bit of background information about your in-laws, including any little quirks they might have. Of course, be careful not to overshare. You don’t want to create a negative impression before they even meet each other.
Let Your Parents Be Themselves
Our parents all have something about them that embarrasses us, but now is the time to keep your thoughts to yourself. Telling them not to do certain things might ease some of your anxieties, but might make your parents feel self-conscious. Instead, embrace who they are and reassure them. You want them to be relaxed and ready to be their best selves during the first-meet.
While it would be wonderful if your parents and your future in-laws discovered that they had boatloads of hobbies and interests in common, don’t to bank on this. It takes time for people to get to know each other. Come to the table with some backup topics just in case conversation dies down early. You and your fiancé can team up and brainstorm possible topics before the big meeting.
Stick to Neutral Topics
Keep the conversation flowing, but be sure to steer away from traditionally sensitive conversation topics like politics and religion. The first meeting also isn’t the time to touch on any taboos or overshare. Keep in mind that taboo topics can vary depending on what culture you and your in-laws are from.
Adapt to Family Cultures
It’s important to remember that no two families are alike. Perhaps one of your parents are divorced. Perhaps there is a significant cultural gap or perhaps even a language barrier. No matter what the circumstance, treat every family as a unique organism and adapt accordingly. Be aware of the dynamics and how you can best accommodate everyone’s unique situation.