Dinner Etiquette for visiting your in-laws
Meeting your lady’s family and friends can be a stressful situation, but we’re here to help. Follow these steps, and you’ll be invited back.
Bring booze. Everyone likes alcohol, be sure to bring a bottle of nice wine to go with dinner – it should be unopened.
Dress to impress Before you can woo them with your debonair ways, you must dress the part. See our guidelines on dressing well.).
Embody Seth Rogen. As clichéd as the joke-teller may be, it’s a good way to break the ice. Your hilarity won your sweetheart over, it can win her family, friends, and pets too. Play it by ear, you don’t want to offend anyone.
- PG-rated: A termite walks into a bar and asks “Is the bar tender here?”
- R-rated: Mickey Mouse’s lawyer gets him on the phone and says: “Mickey, I just don’t see us making a case here, you can’t divorce Minnie on the grounds of being silly.” Mickey replies, “I didn’t say she was silly, I said she was fucking Goofy.” (This of course must be said with your best Mickey Mouse impression.)
Go with the flow. Your instincts and social cues will alert you when it’s to let your guard down, open up about your childhood or share your thoughts on how wonderful your girlfriend is. Don’t divulge too much; some things are better left unsaid – see Pheobe from Friends – Meet the Parents
Raise a glass. Make a toast to the host/ess and thank them for having you.
- May the best days of your past, be the worst of your future.
- I would like to take a moment to say some words about an amazing, kind, beautiful person, but enough about me, …
Compliment the chef. “This is the best beef tenderloin I’ve ever had!” Whether that is true or a slight exaggeration does not matter, what counts is them believing you. When eating, appear to enjoy it – unless it’s against your religion, morals or you’re severely allergic.
Clean up duty. Clear those dishes and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Parents love this; it proves how chivalrous you are and demonstrates that their daughter is in good hands.
Chit-Chat. In a group setting, it’s expected you’ll converse with your fellow attendees. You can be a man of few words, so long as you choose the right ones. A good conversationalist is two parts listening, one part talking.
Silence isn’t deadly. It’s normal, natural even, for moments of zen silence to overtake you as you marvel in the vastness of the ever expanding universe. Conversations may prove difficult with some, so brush up on your current affairs. Have a roster of questions:
- What do you do?
- How do you know the host/ess?
- What is the meaning of life?
- What do you think of the political climate in Sri Lanka with the upcoming regional elections and deep ethnic tensions?
- Where are you from?
Whomever you’re speaking with will appreciate your genuine interest and the family will certainly want to know more about you.
It’s nerve-wracking meeting the lady’s closest friends and family, but if they like her + she likes you => they have to like you, right? And if they don’t, just to pretend to be someone else.
If she’s the newcomer, do NOT leave her in a room full of people she hardly knows. Introduce her to someone she shares similar interests with, and watch the sparks fly.
Whether, you’re the newbie or she is, you’re in this together. The topic of how you two met is a great conversation starter and most likely what people want to know since you’re being introduced. Massage the truth, it won’t kill ya, and neither will a dinner party.