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Top 10 Etiquette Rules for Meeting the Parents

Love + Sex
September 17, 2012
His parents will love you as much as he does.
His parents will love you as much as he does.

We're seriously impressed by how Taylor Swift has quickly won the hearts of the Kennedy clan since she began dating Conor Kennedy. His cousin Patrick went as far as to say, "If she wants to be in the family, she's already a part of it." Pull the same thing off when you meet your man's parents for the first time with these brilliant tips.

By Amary Wiggin

Bring a housewarming gift.
It's etiquette 101, so even if your guy says his folks don't expect you to, don't show up empty-handed. If you're just going over for dinner, bring flowers, dessert, or bottle of wine. For longer stays, consider chocolates or a book about something that interests them.

Follow the dress code.
If his family tends to be formal, ditch the skinny-jeans-plus-graphic-tee combo and rock a knee-skimming dress or skirt with a non-cleavage-baring top, says relationship expert Karen Sherman, PhD. And if you're not sure what their style is, play it safe by going conservative.

Flatter his mom's good taste.
You're on her turf, so compliment her on the welcoming environment she's created: Gush over her latest watercolor, the decorating scheme, the meal she's prepared. It lets her know that you notice and appreciate all the work she's done, says Sherman.

Related: 6 Ways to Win Over His Friends

Bond with his siblings.
Ask his little sister about her ballet classes, or his older brother about his favorite sports team. "Everyone wants to feel cared about," says Dr. Sherman. And it doesn't hurt to get the thumbs-up from his next of kin.

Talk up how great their son is.
His 'rents want to see that you adore their boy as much as they do. Praise the awesome way he treats you and lay it on thick about how smart and thoughtful he is. They'll beam knowing that you too are a member of his fan club.

Cut back the PDA.
They'll be thrilled to see that you really like him, but they don't want to glimpse you two sucking face or groping each other on the sofa! An arm around his shoulder or a peck on the cheek is okay, but any more than that might offend them, so back off until you're out of their house.

Related: 7 Signs You're Ready to Get Married

Offer to help out.
Pitch in washing dishes and tidying up. It shows that you respect the effort they've gone to playing host, and even better, that you're a willing participant in the family dynamic, says Sherman. When you take on a task like clearing the table, you show that you want to join the family, not lure him out of it.

Go with the family flow.
Does everyone sleep till noon? Do they schedule every minute of every day? Eat dinner at 4:30 p.m.? Figure it out and don't try to change their routine. Again, show his family that you want to blend in-not take over.

Engage them in conversation.
Stay away from landmine topics, but don't be afraid to share who you are-info about your job, school, or hobbies-and of course ask them about themselves. If you're at a loss for words, inquire about family memories. Say something like, "John speaks so highly of your family vacations. Can you tell me more about that trip to the Grand Canyon?" Says Sherman: "It shows that you honor their family, and you want to hear about them."

Related: 25 Ways to Be Romantic With Your Guy

Say thanks via snail mail.
Nothing slays a parental unit like receiving an old-fashioned handwritten thank-you note. Tell them they were amazing hosts, and you look forward to spending more time with them in the future. You'll be getting an invite to the next family get-together in no time.

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