Catching Up with Susan – Issue 7
That nerve wrecking moment when you just recently got engaged and about to meet your future in-laws? Don’t fret, relax. Most of the time, in-laws aren’t too bad.
In fact, they can be pretty cool people if you give them a chance. Show good basic social etiquette , maintain a positive attitude, don’t sweat too many small details and you should do just fine.
My best advice is to go into this exciting and often nerve wrecking experience with no expectations and lots of acceptance. Also please be yourself, this is not a massive skill testing quiz, it’s really just another phase in life. The new family just wants to know that you have their son or daughter’s best interests at heart.
That being the case, it’s vital that you make a great first impression on potential in-laws.
Do Your Homework
One way to alleviate your fear is to do a little homework and find out the likes and dislikes of your in-laws. Ask your fiancé or fiancée about the family’s interest, what each person enjoys. It’s nice to know enough to hold a decent conversation.
Remember your manners
A little consideration goes a long way to making a good impression. You know the basics:
Say please and thank you.
Don’t come faking who you are not. Remember the way you start determines the way you will have to keep up to. Now, I’m not advocating that you do what comes naturally, (please, spare us that), but I am saying that you shouldn’t pretend to be someone (or something) that you’re not. Use your company manners, but stay true to yourself. After all, that’s why that beautiful man or woman by your side fell in love with you in the first place. Someone who lives there, may just be itching to find something wrong with you.
Making eye contact can greatly improve your chances of creating a good first impression.
Dress for the Occasion
Remember that you only have one chance to make a first impression, so dress as nicely as you can, wear something nice, clean, and conservative.
Make sure your hair and fingernails are clean and well groomed. Don’t wear anything provocative such as low-cut, skin-tight, or see-through clothing.
Look polished and pulled together. You want your future in-laws happy you’ll be joining their family.
Bring gifts along with you especially for the mum, women have a way with gifts. Make the gift something based on their interests, and you’ll make some extra points by showing your consideration and generosity.
Call Them by Their Preferred Names
In our African setting must parents preferred to be called mummy and daddy, but there are some who have an exception to that. They may want to be addressed as Sir or Ma, this is where you research gives you an edge.
Treat the siblings well.
Hey, you never know. It is always nice to treat siblings well, you may feel that they are not relevant but believe it or not when you leave they will be part of that discussion ” how do you see her/him?”
Avoid controversial topics.
This is not the time to debate the issue of “The anointing on the pastor covers the head of the female members in the church, hence their not covering of hair, or if Biafra should come or stay.”
Know their Culture
Engaged to someone from a different culture? Do everything you can to show respect for your fiancé’s family heritage. Go above and beyond and learn proper greeting etitquette (should you stand and greet, bow , or lie down?), and ask your partner to teach you a few pleasantries—like “pleasure to meet you” and “how are you”—in your future in-laws’ native language.
But don’t speak for others.
If they ask your fiancé a question, let him answer for himself. “If there are younger children there, make sure you don’t take on a parental role and tell them what to do or try to moderate their behavior.”
How Not To Act When Meeting The In-Laws For The First Time
* Do not suck up: People can genuinely smell fake from a mile away. Avoid unnecessary complements. Be pleasant and more importantly be yourself.
* Do not sit out on the sidelines: You are not just another friend your partner is bringing home to chill with, you may potentially be a cherished member of the family one day so play your part. Offer to help out in the kitchen and after eating help clean up.
* Do not participate in disagreements: There may be a member of the family under the same roof who does not get along with another member, that is their issue. Be cordial with everyone and treat them equally. All families argue and some people will never get along, however keep in mind that you are coming to dinner with a clean slate. Create your own relationship with the family instead of listening to opinion of others.
* Do not ignore your boo: It’s a big step introducing your new love to the family, believe me your partner has a case of the sweaty palms too. Try to complement him in the presence of his family, it not only keeps him at ease but shows the family how much you cherish him.
rules of meeting the mother-in-law
1. Get in the three Cs as early as possible. Compliment her outfit. Compliment her cooking. Compliment her son. Simple.
2. Forget your interests – this conversation is all about her. Gardening? Love it. Do It Yourself? Always want to. Sugarcraft? How FASCINATING.
3. However free thinking she may appear, do not swear, do not expose your midriff and do not reference drugs or alcohol.
4. A family argument breaks out? You’re on her side. No question.
5. So her attitude towards you appears rigid. Soften her up by asking for her advice.
6. Ask questions – you’ll seem interested and it’ll give her less opportunity to quiz you.
7. Save your Phone for the journey home. Watching you get on the phone after every two sentence = instant hate.
8. She wants to think she knows her son better than you. When it comes to his
favourite food and his bad habits – let her tell you.
10. And finally remember this: The relationship between mother and son has been long discussed and troubled over. So if she’s a bit weird towards you, don’t take it personally.
That’s all, folks!
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