Meeting the parents. At some point or another, most of us have to do it, so we all know the dread and anxiety such an encounter can burn into your gut. It’s a tale as old as time, immortalized in countless stories and as the central premise in some of our favorite movies: the comedy Guess Who?, the horror film Get Out, and, of course, Meet the Parents.

It’s great film-fodder because it can truly be a nerve-wracking experience. You want to make a good impression and win them over, but it’s not always easy to know how. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of winning them over. Here are eight tips on how to impress your partner’s parents.

1. Doing your homework is a key tip to impress your partner’s parents

Before you meet your partner’s parents, take some time to learn about them. Find out what they like and don’t like, what their hobbies are, and what they do for a living. The more you know about them, the better equipped you’ll be to find common ground and make conversation. Additionally, avoid asking your partner too many questions about their parents before meeting them; this will only make you more nervous.

2. Dress to impress

When meeting someone’s parents for the first time, it’s important to dress neatly and conservatively. This shows that you respect them and are taking the meeting seriously. avoid wearing anything that is too revealing or overly casual. Stick to classic pieces that won’t look out of place in their home. But don’t overdo it and look like a goofball.

3. Arrive on time

Punctuality is a virtue, so make sure you’re arriving on time. This shows that you respect their time and are considerate of their schedule. Plus, it’ll give you a few extra minutes to chat and get to know them before the rest of the family arrives. But don’t come early unless you’ve been given a heads up that your partner’s parents would like that—arriving early can be seen as rude in some cultures.

4. Don’t come empty handed

If you’re meeting your partner’s parents at their home, bringing a small gift—be it flowers, a bottle of wine or a dessert—is a nice statement of generosity and politeness, especially if you’re coming over for dinner. In many traditional cultures, it’s pretty much a requirement. No need to go crazy and blow your paycheck though, even a small box of chocolates goes a long way.

5. Being polite and respectful is a key way to impress your partner’s parents

This one should go without saying, but it’s important to remember to be on your best behavior when meeting someone’s parents. Be polite and respectful at all times, using please and thank you when appropriate. Don’t forget those basic manners—chew with your mouth closed and keep your elbows off the table! And don’t drink too much and throw it all out the window!

6. Show an interest in their interests

One surefire way to win someone over is by showing an interest in their interests. Remember that homework you were doing in Tip 1? Now it’s time to use it. If they love sports, talk about sports with them. If they’re into gardening, ask them about their favorite plants or flowers. By engaging in conversation about things they’re passionate about, you’ll quickly endear yourself to them.

7. Offer to help out

Another great way to make a good impression is by offering to help out where needed—whether it’s setting the table for dinner or clearing dishes afterwards. This shows that you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get involved, and they’ll certainly appreciate the help!

8. Be yourself

The most important thing you can do when meeting your partner’s parents is to be yourself. They will be able to see through any attempts to fake it, so it’s best just to relax and be yourself. Let your personality shine through, and don’t be afraid to crack a few jokes (as long as they’re appropriate). The goal is to enjoy yourself and let the conversation flow naturally.

Winning over your partner’s parents can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By doing your homework, dressing to impress, and being yourself, you’re sure to make a great first impression. So relax, be yourself, and enjoy getting to know your partner’s parents better.

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