One of the most nerve racking parts of beginning a new relationship is the moment when your girlfriend/boyfriend decides they are going to introduce you to their parents. No matter what age you and your partner are, your relationship with their parents is something that can make or break how long your own relationship will last.

Unfortunately for us men, gaining the approval of her parents is MUCH more difficult due to the protectiveness that most parents have for their daughters. When dating a girl that is an only child or the only female sibling, gaining their approval can be even tougher and may even feel impossible.

Here are a few ways to ensure that you make that ever so important first impression:

Tip #1 – Give all male family members a firm handshake!

The dad and brothers will almost certainly be the hardest to please. Nothing makes you look worse then delivering one of those soft, feminine handshakes that make you look insecure right from the start. Suck it up, get in there, and deliver a nice firm handshake that sets the tone for your first impression. Be sure to also create eye contact while shaking and introducing yourself.

The women are a little more difficult to judge. It is usually acceptable, and more effective, to go for the hug with the mom and sisters. Hugging can provide a first impression of friendliness and comfort, which is what your looking for with the women.

Tip #2 – Avoid being shy at all costs!

Sitting there and saying absolutely nothing is the best way to get yourself judged the minute you walk out of the house. Create conversation by talking about your career goals or common interests like sports. Nothing can create a better atmosphere for you then talking about what you plan to do with your life and establishing to the family that you have your life together and will be able to take care of their little girl.

Try and stay away from the story about how you and your girlfriend met, especially if you met in college. Anything that involves meeting through alcohol, sucking face in the bar, and/or not knowing her name in the morning after the first time you met should probably be excluded from any conversation with her family.

Tip #3 – Don’t be arrogant!

While you certainly want to avoid being shy and want to express to the parents that you have your life in order you DO NOT want to sound arrogant. There is a fine line between explaining your career plan and bragging about the fact that you do have a career plan. Humility is a blessing that very few people have. If you can get the point across that you are on track to being successful while still coming across as humble, your going to come out of this encounter smelling like roses.

Understand that this first encounter creates the first impression that you will be judged by for the early parts of your relationship. This can be a blessing or can just as easily be a curse. Step up to the plate, show that your personable and have your life on track while remaining humble and you’ll be setting yourself up for a much more comfortable experience for everyone involved.

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