How to make a good impression on your in-laws

by Eharmony Editorial Team - May 24, 2016

Meeting your in-laws for the first time? Here are 7 things to remember that are guaranteed to help you make a good first impression

It’s one of the most challenging aspects of having a serious relationship, but learning how to navigate your in-laws is a skill that will make everything else in life simpler. Whether you’re planning to spend every Christmas with them, or just need them to pitch in with babysitting every so often, your in-laws are likely to be a big part of your life, so it’s always best to keep them on side. Take a look at our top tips to making a good first impression on your in-laws and you’ll be treated like part of the family in no time.

Be big on compliments
There’s no better way to get someone on your side than complimenting them. Whether you choose to praise their house, meal, outfit or haircut, there’s sure to be something that you can admire about virtually anyone and the more genuine your compliment, the better. It’s easy to slip compliments into a conversation without making too much of it, and when it comes to your in-laws, you can be too kind. If all else fails, at least you can compliment them on their son or daughter – you definitely like them at least!

Plan some conversation starters
No-one likes being lost for words, but when your nerves get the better of you, it’s all too easy to go completely blank. Our top tip? It’s all about preparation. It might feel strange to plan conversation topics ahead of time, but we promise, even if you don’t use them, they’ll give you confidence. That way, you know that you’ll always have something to talk about, no matter what.

Stay away from controversial subjects
While it’s good to have things to talk about, you should always stay away from controversial subjects when you’re meeting your in-laws for the first time. You may well find that you share similar views later on, but until then, be cautious and don’t bring up anything contentious like politics or religion until you get to know them a bit better. Say the wrong thing and it’s bound to cause an argument – healthy debates are best saved until you’ve already got them on your side.

Don’t criticise your partner
She might be the reason you arrived 20 minutes late, and yes, he probably left his towel on the floor again, but now is not the time to be critical of your partner. While they’re still getting to know you, your in-laws will always take their child’s side, and criticising their pride and joy is a sure-fire way of getting things off to a bad start. Honesty can come with time – just wait until six months down the line when you’re all laughing about your partner’s terrible taste in music together!

Don’t be a know-it-all
You probably know your partner pretty well at this point; you know the food that they like, the TV shows they obsess over, even which side of the bed they prefer, but rest assured, in the eyes of your in-laws they will always know their child best. Don’t try to compete; you’ll only end up looking petty and rub people up the wrong way. Instead, ask questions, appeal to their superior knowledge, and they’re sure to warm up to you in no time.

Dress for the occasion
Think of your meeting with your in-laws as one of the most important job interviews of your life, and dress accordingly. This is not the time to rock up in shorts and flip flops, or model that low-cut bandage dress; be yourself but dress at the more conservative end of the spectrum. If you’re well presented, it shows that you’ve made an extra effort for their benefit = instant brownie points.

Be genuine
Just like with dating; when it comes to making a good impression on your in-laws, it’s best to be yourself. Try too hard or pretend to be someone you’re not and it’ll immediately come across as false and untrustworthy. Your partner fell for you because of who you are, so be confident that their parents will feel the same.

And good luck – you’ll be great!