Ladylike Laws: Meeting His Family

Ladylike Laws: Meeting His Family
It’s that moment you’ve been waiting for…You and your guy have been dating for several weeks when he finally asks you to join him for Sunday dinner at his family’s house. Queue the inevitable meet-the-parents jitters: What am I going to wear? Will they like me? How do I act?

I’ve experienced this same flurry of questions before, too.  When this happens, I try to take a step back and realize that meeting the parents is just like a first date or an interview.  A first impression means everything, and there are certain rules you just have to follow:

  • Rule #1: Be yourself.
    Don’t fake it. If you meet your special someone’s family and pretend to be someone different, chances are they’re going to catch on. There is a reason your guy brought you home to his folks…he likes you for who you are. If the entire family is talking about a subject you know little about, chiming in just for the sake of it might get you stuck in a sticky situation (who won that Monday Night Football game again?). Instead, if a topic of conversation comes up that you can’t contribute to, ask them to recap the details for you. You will come across as interested, not phony. And in the end, your guy’s family will respect you for being yourself.
  • Rule #2: Be helpful.
    If your boyfriend is asking you to come to dinner at his family’s house, offer to bring an appetizer, dessert, or a bottle of wine if you are of age. Bringing something to the table (literally) is just enough to show your appreciation for the invite, but doesn’t make you appear overeager. Once you finish eating, help clear the table and offer to do the dishes. Most hosts think highly of a guest who offers to help clean up. Whether they will actually let you do the dishes or not, it shows good manners and appreciation.
  • Rule #3: Mind your manners.
    Let’s do a little refresher on the basics, shall we? Always say please and thank you. Place your napkin in your lap. Eat with your mouth closed. And do not take your cell phone out while you’re visiting (check out my post about navigating first dates for a few more tips). As far as the dinner goes, if you have allergies or other special dietary needs, you may want to remind your boyfriend to mention them to his family. However, on the off chance that the menu includes a dish that you do not particularly care for, eat as much as you can, and when you’ve had enough, express how stuffed you are and how much you enjoyed the meal. Substituting the truth for good manners is the only time it’s okay to fake it.
  • Rule #4: Dress to impress.
    Wear something that shows your true fashion sense, but also make sure to err on the conservative side. No parent is going to be impressed by a super short hemline. Dress to flatter your figure and wear something you love—when you feel best, you tend to look best too. I recommend pairing a modest blouse with a feminine skirt. Think classy and comfortable, but still fashionable. For more outfit ideas, check out my Meet the Parents Style Guide. And as the final touch, keep your makeup simple and your jewelry pretty minimal. You don’t want his family to be distracted from your personality because your smoky eye shadow or hoop earrings are stealing the show.
  • Rule #5: Get to know them.
    Whether it’s his mom or his dad, his little sister or his older brother, it’s important to take the time to get to know his family members. When they ask questions about you, make sure you’re reciprocating by asking questions about their lives, too. If you only talk about yourself the whole time, the conversation will not flow and you might come across as self-centered. Plus, getting to know his family and their likes and dislikes will make for smooth sailing the next time you get together with them. If his brother likes the Dodgers, show him pictures of the last home game you attended. If his mom is a fan of Friends, bring your collection of all 10 seasons to share next time you see her. They’ll adore you for remembering those little details.

Above all, just remember to be you. If you do that, his family will most likely fall for you even quicker than he did.

Do you have any suggestions when it comes to meeting your man’s family for the first time? Share your stories in the comments below so I can check them out.

Also, do you have a Ladylike Laws request? Let me know what etiquette rules you’d like to read about next.

XO Lauren

Photo: Kate Ermillio Spring 2013

Categories: Contributors, Etiquette, Grow, Ladylike Laws, Lauren Conrad
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  • Tika

    When I meet the parents I am always mannerable and myself. I am a little silly so I add a little humor to conversations to loosen up the nerves. lol

    Also a compliment helps too. I complimented my ex’s mom on her dress and it helped because her husband hated it and it was her favorite dress and loved that someone else other than her liked it lol

  • Stephanie

    When I got serious with my boyfriend, I always heard what a tough cuss his mother was, and feared she wouldn’t like me. I finally met her and took the time to get to know her a little. One day I took her out thrifting with me. Imagine my surprise when she asked if she could say something personal and the words, “”If you and Logan ever decide to, I really want grand kids,”” came out of her mouth.

    Taking the time to get to know them really pays off. His mother loves me, we get along great, and laugh a lot. She’s not so tough after all. In fact, she’s really girly!

  • My Style Diary

    I’m so glad that that first dinner with the parents is over! It’s always a bit nerve racking.. Luckily his parents are the best, so we always have a great time!

  • Donna Hale

    I couldn’t agree more than rule #1. I know meeting in-laws can be really intimidating, but being yourself will show them why your guy is so fond of you in the first place. Also, have fun!


  • C Hayes

    These were great tips! Too bad I can’t apply them …and won’t anytime soon, but when I’ll do, I’ll sure use this as a reference!

    -Chymere A.

  • JillianCW

    I’m meeting the parents in 2 days! This couldn’t have come at a better time :)

  • Ashley

    This is all so true, especially the one about reciprocating questions :) It’s seems so simple yet it speaks volumes if you don’t do it!

  • Deanne Castro

    For more fashion and beauty advice, check out my blog: VIDEO BLOG: – Today’s post: How To Style One Dress From The Office To Cocktails
    These are fantastic tips!

    Follow me on Twitter – /Instagram: @MyFashAvenue /Pinterest:


  • Deanne Castro

    These are fantastic tips!

    For more fashion and beauty advice, check out my blog: VIDEO BLOG: – Today’s post: How To Style One Dress From The Office To Cocktails

    Follow me on Twitter – /Instagram: @MyFashAvenue /Pinterest:


  • Candice J.

    Add to the list: send a thank you note after. His parents will appreciate that you took the time to thank them for opening up their home to you.

    • Rebecca

      so true! parents love that kind of stuff – plus it’s just a great habit to have :)

  • Funfundate

    One of the most nerve-wrecking moments! (but if his parents are super-nice to you, it won’t be so awkward!) Just behave and be nice to everyone. Don’t be phony because his mom will notice for sure!
    FFD ( )

  • katliz

    So neccessary!

  • Julz

    Dont be shy! If I grew out of that sooner I probably would of been more talkative and more about taking the time to ask the parents questions too and bonding with the siblings! Thats one important thing I wish I wasnt. :/ Show personality too! Parents love that!! (:

  • Beauty to Sparkle

    Lovely tips! I get really shy, but don’t be ashamed if you do because parents are understanding people just like you :)

  • Flor Garcia

    Manners are alway really imp!


  • Paulina Mo


    Check out my fashion blog:

  • hooleywithaz

    yes, manners! don’t be too familiar too fast…you aren’t part of the family at this point, so best behavior is key! i’ve seen my share of my brother’s girlfriends breaking this rule. not the best intro.

  • hooleywithaz

    yes, manners! don’t be too familiar too fast…you aren’t part of the family at this point, so best behavior is key! i’ve seen my share of my brother’s girlfriends breaking this rule. not the best intro.

  • Harmony

    My rule is conservative clothes and jewelry. Always a cardigan with a high neck feminine top and pearl jewelry. I never wear skirts because so much can go wrong there! What if they want you to join in a outdoor game! I had that happen once. I always wear khaki’s with nice flats, never wear heels, it gives the wrong message. Minding your manners is most important. I always take flowers or a pretty crystal jar or bowl wrapped beautifully for the Mom as a thank you for the invite.

  • Leanne

    Great tips, I sense a little meet and greet coming up in my life soon so I’m truly grateful for this!

    Love from South Africa

  • Deanne Castro

    These are fantastic tips!

    For more fashion and beauty advice, check out my blog: VIDEO BLOG: – Today’s post: How To Style One Dress From The Office To Cocktails

    Follow me on Twitter – /Instagram: @MyFashAvenue /Pinterest:


  • BamaBeth

    I just need to find a good man to invite me to meet the parents. I have manners, morals and values which apparently isn’t the going thing that guys are looking for nowadays. Makes dating tough, but if I lower my standards and morals I wouldn’t be happy. So, I’m sticking to my guns and “”MY”” perfect will find me some days, but would love some types on attracting a good guy. Love these tips by the way!

    • ElleLove

      I read this and this is SO very true! I was in this same situation for most of my “dating life.” I was what guys wanted, but not really what they wanted (sometimes I feel like guys aren’t really sure of what they want). But nonetheless, I stuck to my guns, and I did find “MY” perfect guy. I just met his parents today and will be meeting the rest of his family on Thanksgiving. It really takes patience and persistence. This was posted 2 years ago, and I hope you’ve found that since then.

  • Sofia Alleyne

    Nice pic and informations. I love it!!

  • Jacqueline Jax

    Meeting the parents is always done best in a flattering dress that is shaped well but not to revealing. Stay away from puffy, ultra short and tight dresses or skirts. Minimize your trendy pieces and go for a classic look head to toe. They will live you for it. No one likes a wild child on first appearances. I have tons of looks on my blog hope you’ll come visit.

  • Emka

    Thank you so much ! i will meet my boyfriends family soon and this is very helpful !

  • katie at Miss enchanting

    This is brilliant! My tip would be- avoid being drunk before you meet your future mother in law! Yes that was me…I will save the details for a future blog, but needless to say, she loves me now! 😉

    Katie x

  • ashley

    What about meeting the friends? It’s hard for me to open up and it isnt any easier when everybody already knows each other and are telling stories or talking about things i have i have no clue about. I don’t want to seem like a snob.

  • Ellie

    I have to meet my man’s parents for Christmas, I’m soooo stressed ! I don’t know what kind of presents to bring and my boyfriend is not really helpful with that. Plus, I’m not that great with being social… Erghhh. So stressful ! -_-“

    • Collor

      I met my bf’s family just a couple of weeks ago, his mom sent me this beautiful sweater as a Christmas gift, so I got her super cute necklace with all of her children names stamped on it for this coming Christmas, you could do that too. I found it on Etsy. I haven’t found anything for his dad And the rest of the family, so I’m still under stress.
      Good luck!!

    • Liz

      I have the same issue…

  • sarah


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  • Deneisha

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m literally getting ready for my bf Christmas dinner with his family and I’m freaking lol so thank you.

  • Evelyn

    What is your thoughts on Females Proposing To Their BF ?

  • goldie

    My guy friend just invited me to attend his daughter’s graduation with her Masters Degree. I’m sure the whole family will be attending as they are very close. I’m very introverted and not sure what to wear either. Do I sign his card or get my own? What about a gift?



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