Bringing your boyfriend and your parents together for the first time can be a huge and scary step. Your parents will finally be meeting this person you've mentioned again and again, but more than that, it's a sign that your relationship is serious. Introducing the special people in your life to each other can be stress-inducing. It's important, both for you and your loved ones, to make the meeting as comfortable as possible so that you'll want to repeat it in the future.
Decide If It's the Right Time
Before you drag your guy and your parents into the same room, it's important to know whether it's time to make introductions. If you've been together for a fair amount of time and you see a future together, then go ahead. But if he's a fairly new addition to your life, you might want to put on the brakes. Plus, you'll want to ask him whether he's comfortable with the idea in the first place. If all signs point to go, make sure to drop his name on your parents before they meet him. It's important that they know he exists before they meet him. Now decide who to invite. This is especially important if your parents are divorced -- can they be in the same room together? If so, do their new spouses or partners also deserve an invite? Finally, figure out what you want to do for the meet-up. A coffee date will keep things short and sweet. Attending a sports match together will keep the pressure off. Or organize brunch or appetizers at your house for a personal touch.
Talk With Your Guy First
Chat with your boyfriend first about what to expect when meeting your parents. Give him a bit of family background and conversation pointers. Ask him about his own feelings and expectations. Chat about what might be best to wear -- dress to impress! Then chat with your folks and give them the background on your beau -- his interests, job and family. Talk to both parties about conversation no-nos: your parents' ugly divorce, his troubled adopted mom. Make sure to check in with your own expectations, too. It's likely you want everything to go perfectly and are stressed about potential disaster. Just remember, it's only the first meeting. Tune into your feelings and acknowledge your fears.
The Actual Meeting
Start the meeting with some light small talk. This takes the pressure off. Encourage him to pick up flowers or sweets for your mom to get things off to a good start. Ask him to share a bit about himself and then move on to neutral topics such as pop culture, sports or news. Steer the discussion away from hot topics such as politics if possible. If the meeting does go well, you're likely to know right away. If your parents are giving out Christmas invitations and calling you to voice their approval afterward, you've likely hit this one out of the park.
If It All Goes Wrong
Unfortunately, you can't prepare for calamity. It's possible that your beau and your folks are too dissimilar to strike up a conversation or get along. Or your parents might start fighting or something completely unexpected happens, like the waiter accidentally spills red wine on your mom's dress. Prepare to duck out early to prevent further upset. Thank your parents for coming, pay your part of the bill, and offer an excuse. The only way to contain the damage might be to cut short the meeting and hope that round two, if it's appropriate, goes much better.