If your relationship is getting serious, you will soon have to face your date’s family. “My parents want us to come to dinner tomorrow night’ is often the cause of a sleepless night and a stressful day, but it doesn’t need to be.
Don’t be reluctant, accept with pleasure, “I have been hoping to meet them, I look forward to it.” This is your chance to learn more about your date than you could learn in several months of dating.
Ask your date what you could take as a small gift. If they like plants, take a blooming plant. If they are interested in politics, find a book in their favorite subject. A DVD of their favorite music would also be appreciated. This kind of gift shows that you put effort in finding out what they like. It is also a conversation starter. You can discuss the book and the DVD and admire the plant, but if you plan to take candy you better find out if either are on a diet.
You will be able to tell quite early how the family members interact with each other. Do they respect each other’s opinions or do they snipe at each other, or try to embarrass them? This is valuable information to explore further before you marry.
It is up to the hosts to take charge of the conversation. but if they don’t you should always have a few non-controversial topics you can suggest to fill the awkward silences. A pet is always good for several minutes of conversation. Don’t do the weather. Everyone knows whether it has been cold or hot. Traffic is pretty overdone also. World events are always good as long as they are not political. Of course if you find out you agree politically, you will probably pass inspection right then.
Dinner conversation is always the easiest. Remember, the hostess is always a good cook, and the dinner is always delicious, always! You may request a recipe, even if you don’t like to cook. Most people like to give recipes. However, if she is reluctant, perhaps she regards it as a family secret. Don’t Push.
After dinner conversation is the most revealing for both host and guest. There are usually clues around the house. Maybe a trophy earned for golf, a magazine on fishing or hiking or antiques. Pursuing these hints are sure to be winners.
If there are no clues, you might start a conversation with, “Did you see the game last night.” If you get blank stares, obviously they are not into sports, and you will have to change subjects. How about vacations, travel, or dogs?
At some point, they are sure to ask what you do for a living, although they probably already know. You can make your answer long enough to satisfy their curiosity but be careful not to bore them. Everyone’s job is more interesting to themselves than to anyone else.
However, this gives you an opening, when you can ask the same question. “Debra says you are into real estate? “What’s going on in that market anyway.? As soon as this subject is open for conversation, it is good for a long discussion And be sure to ask for advice. People love to give advice.
The evening will eventually come to an end, and you should have learned a great deal about your prospective in-laws. Hopefully, you have made good friends. Whatever happened, you can be sure you will have many more opportunities to get further acquainted.
Copyright 2006 Robert T.Lewis
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Robert T. Lewis, Ph.D.
Psychologist and Author of:
How Any Male Can Become A Super Dater
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