Neil Williams, a dating expert and the man behind The Romance Files, offers five ways to get your partner's family to fall in love with you -- minus the stress.
1. Be prepared
When it comes to meeting your partner's family, it's helpful to know what to expect. Ask your significant other if there's anything you should know before you meet his parents. "Before you go into their home you should know what kind of people they are," explains Williams. Are they loud and boisterous? Are they more traditional? Once you have mentally prepared and know what you're getting yourself into, you can use that knowledge to your benefit during the visit.
2. Be nurturing
Many people place value on having nurturing qualities, so keep that in mind -- whether you want to have children or not. "I think one of the things that you want to show is that you'll be a good parent," says Williams. So if the man in your life has nieces or nephews, gravitate toward them. By interacting and being playful with the children in your partner's life, you're showing his family that you're good with kids. "It will give them a sense of a strong family unit," says Williams, and by showcasing this they will start picturing you in the role of a wife and as part of the family.
3. Be personable
When going over to a family member's house for the first time, it's never a good idea to show up empty-handed. Instead of buying the usual go-to bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers, Williams suggests bringing baked goods. "It's the thought that counts. Instead of throwing out money to easily buy a gift, making something becomes more sentimental," he says. And at the end of your visit make plans to get together again soon. Enthusiasm and effort aren't soon forgotten.
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4. Be low-maintenance
Walls will go up if your partner's family picks up on argumentativeness or a sense of superiority. You don't want to intimidate others, says Williams, you want them to be your friends. It's important to tone down any sense of being high-maintenance and opt instead for a relaxed, low-key attitude. "It's not what you say, it's the way you say it," Williams warns. If you disagree with something that is being said, stop yourself before you get defensive. Think before you speak and be mindful of your tone and body language so as not to put others off.
5. Be tough
We've all heard stories or seen movies about the monstrous mothers-in-law. If your partner's mother gives you a hard time, there are some simple ways to handle the hostility. "The best thing a woman can do to impress a tough woman like this is to have a backbone and to show her you're not afraid to step up when necessary," says Williams. By showing her some strength you may be able to get her to like you -- or at the very least, respect you.
So if your partner's mom makes an off-colour comment or asks you a condescending question, address it by focusing on the positive instead of the negative aspect of what she has said, says Williams. It is also helpful to project confidence, look her straight in the eye and greet her with a firm handshake when you first meet her, he advises.
When it comes to making a positive impression on your partner's family, the most important thing to remember is to be authentic. Most people can see through an act. And if you're here to stay, you'll have a long road ahead of you trying to maintain the image you set up for yourself from the start.
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