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Meet The Parents: The Do's & Don'ts of Meeting His Folks

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You and your guy have moved past the "honeymoon phase" and you still can't find anything wrong with him. Thanksgiving's coming and he's invited you to dinner with his folks--they're dying to meet the girl who stole his heart. It's sweet but you're naturally nervous about the big meeting.

Follow these simple rules and relax, they'll love you! Meeting the parents can be a big success with just a small amount of effort.

The Do's and Don'ts for meeting the fam this turkey day:

Do: Smile
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes when we're nervous we can forget to flash our pearly whites. Studies show that the act of smiling can actually trick the brain into a better mood and relieve stress, so you can feel cool, calm and in control when you meet his family. Smiling also helps you seem attractive and approachable, which could lead to his mom pulling out the embarrassing high school photo album of her baby boy when he was in band camp, couldn't grow hair on his upper lip and had braces with the rubber bands.
Don't: Pout If meeting your man's parents is a "big deal," your anxiety over the encounter can cause unnecessary tension to run high between you and your beau. Do not invent something to be angry about and get into a fight with him on the drive over to Thanksgiving dinner. Obviously, this could affect you putting your best foot forward. Tell him that you're nervous, he'll probably know the right way to help you relax.

Do: Your Homework The only thing more embarrassing than forgetting the name of someone you want to impress is saying something that would offend that person. Do a little research, ask your boyfriend about his family. Don't bring your famous rum punch to his parent's house, only to find out they don't drink. Just like that time you worked an extra week on the presentation for work that landed you your promotion, you've got to put in a little time if you want to connect with your guy's fam.
Don't: Be Overzealous You don't have to remember the name of his mom's first pet to get in good with is parents. The basic details will do. Just be prepared to ask questions to get the added information. If you know too much, it'll be harder for them to get to know you.

Do: Be on Time This is not the time to be fashionably late. If everyone is standing around the table salivating over Aunt Shirley's signature macaroni cassarole because you couldn't figure out what eyeshadow matched your outfit, they're going to get annoyed with you. Plan ahead so that you can make it on time.
Don't: Be Too Early If your boyfriend's mom still has her "house clothes" on when you ring her doorbell, things might not start out too well. Just like you want to look put together and smell fresh when you meet them, the fam wants to make a good impression on you, too.

Do: Bring a Gift Of course you don't have to bring a gift. But if you do, it'll score you major points. Well arranged flowers in an elegant vase, or a fine bottle of wine should do the trick.
Don't: Splurge His folks don't need a new china set to know you love their son. In fact, if you go all out on your first meeting with your boyfriend's parents, they might get the feeling that you're fake. Save that money for when they become your in-laws and his mom overhears you calling her the B-word.

Do: Care About Your Appearance We know you want to be your laid-back self, but now is not the time to roll out of bed and throw together an outfit. Take some pride in getting yourself together. You'll actually be able to relax more if you feel clean and look fresh.
Don't: Wear Too Much Make-up Or if you do, don't be surprised when his mom thinks he's dating a drag queen. You are going to thanksgiving dinner, girlfriend, not performing live at the VMA's, so put down the frosty blue eye-shadow and go for something a little more natural.

Do: Find a Common Interest This is where doing your homework comes in handy. Keep it light. Find out what kind of music his family members listen to or what their hobbies are. You should be able to find some common ground somewhere.
Don't: Talk About Politics and Religion
If your beliefs and opinions differ, you won't get out of there alive. If they're similar, you're still in for a very long and serious conversation. Save it for another visit.

Do: Have a Toast 
It's okay to have a glass of bubbly and say "cheers" with the fam this Thanksgiving. A glass of wine or punch might calm your nerves a bit so you can really show his peeps who you are. 
Don't: Get Drunk 
You're having a great time with your boyfriend's family and friends. Everybody loves you! Suddenly you don't feel too well and you're sprawled out, face down on his sister's bed with a trash can next to you and a bad case of the spins. Not cute! It can be hard to control ourselves during holidays when the liquor seems to be on an endless pour, but don't forget, you're at his parents' not your sorority house.

Do: Stick around to help with the dishes 
Pitching in to help clean up shows you're a team player. Besides it's the least you could do after gobble gobble gobbling up all of that delicious food.
Don't: Stay Too Long
Just like you didn't sleep at your boy's place after the first date, don't overstay your welcome with your boo's clan. Even if they think you're amazing, you're not part of the family. When the dishes are done and his mom slips into her bedroom slippers, it's time for you to go home (unless, of course, you're visiting from out of town, then just go to bed or suggest that you and you boyfriend go out).

MOST IMPORTANTLY 
Do: Be Yourself 
That's who your boyfriend fell in love with and that's who they want to get to know. If they love him, they'll love you. Period. 
Don't: Be Yourself 
They want to get to know you, but they don't need to know ALL about you. Got it? Good.

Filed Under: Expert Advice
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