The word “in-laws” inspires quite a bit of trepidation.
That just leaves one last nerve-wracking introduction: parents meeting parents. Luckily, by now you’ve probably gotten to know your future in-laws pretty well and are hopefully more comfortable with your fiancé’s family. Here are some tips to help the meeting go smoothly:
Pick the Right Place and Time
Proposals are carefully planned, with a chosen time and location to make it memorable and special. Put this same care and attention into the in-laws meeting. During the wedding is probably not the right time for them to be introduced for the first time, and early in the morning or late at night when everyone is tired and tempers are shorter should also be avoided. Instead, think about the best way to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Don’t Force The Conversation
Whenever we introduce people whom we really want to get along, we have a tendency to meddle more than we need to. You might be tempted to prompt your parents to discuss something they’re familiar with or ask your in-laws leading questions in an attempt to get the conversation started. But you don’t have to! Let your parents and your in-laws get to know each other on their own.
Know Which Topics to Stay Away From
At the same time, you can definitely steer the conversation once it gets going. There are topics that should be avoided in polite conversation, especially with people who don’t yet know each other well. Religion, politics, and finances can certainly lead to interesting discussions, but these topics might be too touchy for an introduction. If the conversation starts to head in one of these directions, you can feel it out and see how things go, or you can politely present a new topic.
Play Host and Hostess
The stakes might be a little higher, but you can think of this meeting like a dinner party (or any other social gathering) that you’re hosting. What would you do if you were hosting a group of friends who hadn’t all met before? How would you introduce them, what would you talk about, and what would be your strategy for making peace if things started to get contentious? You can apply this mindset even if you’re all meeting somewhere public, like a restaurant.
Remember That They Don’t Have to Get Along
Sure, it would be nice if your parents and in-laws became BFFs, but they don’t have to. The point of the meeting isn’t to engineer a friendship, but to bridge the gap between two different families. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if the introduction doesn’t end in hugs and exchanged phone numbers. How often do people immediately hit it off, anyway? Give it time, and let your parents and in-laws work things out for themselves.
Above all, don’t feel so much pressure!
Parents just want their children to be happy, and if making an effort with the in-laws will put you and your fiancé at ease, both your parents will be more than willing to oblige.