While Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro may have set a pretty terrifying example, they definitely hit the Meeting The Parents nail on the head when it comes to unnecessary anxiety. In some cases, the mere suggestion can conjure up more apprehension than a freaking job interview. Because essentially, I suppose it is one. From the second you enter the room, you are being assessed. What can you bring to the table? Will you qualify as a proper counterpart for the child that these people have spent decades teaching, loving, and fussing over? Also, why are you wearing those weird shoes?
Before you sweat through your silk shirt this holiday season, check out these five stories told to YourTango about the universally dreaded meeting-the-parents-encounter, and consider yourself lucky to have avoided these awkward (and sometimes hilarious) situations!
1 . Sometimes It's Your Parents — Not Your Significant Other — Who You Have To Worry About
The first time her ex-boyfriend Chris came over to meet her family was the first time Lauren's dad has ever acted like a jerk to embarrass her. "I told my parents that he was coming over and they played it cool all day, until right before he got there," she said. Lauren, a proud owner of two rabbits, who are free to hop and roam around the house as they please, was confused to find her dad rounding them up as she gave Chris the final directions to her house over the phone. "We have a small rabbit-sized harness that we use for trips to the vet so that they can't run away," she said. "Right as Chris pulls up, my dad puts on flip flops, grabs one of the rabbits, puts the harness on him and proceeds to walk the rabbit around on the front lawn," she said. "He was just parading around out there like it was totally normal, with his hand on his hip following the rabbit around. When I asked him to knock it off, he claimed that it was his house, and he could do what he wanted, and had to pause his rabbit-walk to meet my boyfriend for the first time. Cool."
2. Being The Side-Dish-Turned-Main-Course Makes For A Tough Intro To The Family
"Jack was in a different relationship when we first started seeing each other, so you can imagine the awkwardness I felt the first few times I went to his house," said Meghan. While she knew she wasn't exactly involving herself in the best situation, the feelings that she had developed for Jack overwhelmed her sense of logic, and she continued to see him until he broke up with his then-girlfriend. The first time she met his brother, she was introduced as a 'friend.' "After a few weeks, he finally confirmed to his parents that I was now the 'new girlfriend.' Needless to say, this may or may have not been the reason I never received any warm or fuzzy feelings from his Mother," said Meghan, "Or maybe it was my tattoos. Either way, they questioned my character from day one, completely disregarding the fact that her son was the one who cheated on his girlfriend and so quickly moved on, not me!" Um, double standard much? Not cool.
3. While It's Not Ideal, You Can Still Make A Good Impression If You're Hung Over
"The first time I met my ex-boyfriend’s parents, I woke up in their guest room when they didn't even know I was sleeping over," said Shelly. "I was incredibly hung-over and had to throw up every ten minutes while we were having a conversation," she said. "They kept asking if I was okay, but I kept making up a different excuse as to why I had to return to the bathroom." Between "fixing her hair," "brushing her teeth," and "blowing her nose," Shelly was running out of excuses. "They definitely caught on to the fact that I was a still-drunk, disgusting mess," she said, "but they still really liked me for some reason." Win!
4. Be Prepared For Surprise Visits From Mom
When Melissa began dating Scott, her first love, she knew he had some pretty heavy family issues going on, so she never really pressed as to why she wasn't welcomed inside his house. "One day in the summer, his parents were away, so I was finally allowed over there," she said. "It was the first time I saw the inside of his house, and we hung out with his brothers all night, it was all innocent fun," she said. A couple of weeks later, Melissa went to go pick Scott up for a date-night, and was waiting in her car expecting to see him come outside. Instead, his mother emerged. "I had never seen her before, and she came out of the front door and was walking toward me, holding something away from her, pinched between her two fingers like it was toxic waste," said Melissa. "My heart stopped when I recognized it. I must have left my blazer inside when I was over there however many weeks ago," she said. “I rolled down my window as she approached the passengers seat and asked 'Would this be yours?' I was horrified." Ouch!
5. Sometimes You'll Get Closer Than You Expect
MS was nervous to meet her boyfriend's mom but after bringing over her favorite wine, she was welcomed warmly. In fact, her boyfriend's mom opened up to her about some serious family issues. "His mom was going on and on about her niece and how worried she was about her, giving details about drug use and boys." While her boyfriend was embarrassed over how much his mom was revealing to his new girlfriend, MS listened and gave his mom advice as best she could. "I was like her little therapist!"
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