All the emotions you’ve felt in your life are all put together in a little mixing-pot and not even allowed to boil over when you have to meet the in-laws for the first time. Anxiety attacks you like a piranha. You become sweaty with bouts of clumsiness. The first meeting with the in-laws can be rather stressful. Needless to say, you are scared beyond your wits.
Keeping your cool seems like a Herculean task. You want moral support from your significant other. Whether you say it out loud or not, meeting your prospective in-laws can be THE most tactically frightening thing you can face in your adult life (remember the movie Meet the Fockers?). You want everything to be perfect, but feelings of all kinds rush to the surface with no way out.
Though the mind is running at a million miles per hour, there are a few common thoughts everyone has when faced with this make-it-or-break-it situation. For those of you who are yet to experience meeting in-laws for the first time, the following should give you a good idea of what to expect.
7 Things I Felt When I Met My In-Laws For The First Time
When I met my in-laws, I think I turned into the most indecisive person in my life. I didn’t know what I should do to impress my Indian in-laws in our first meeting. When I leaned on my spouse for some support and advice, a nonchalant “Chill out, you’ll be fine” followed. It was at that moment that I realized I’m all alone in this endeavor since my spouse psychotically has assumed that everything will somehow be okay.
Understandably, the anxiety makes it seem like a life or death situation. Remember the nervousness before that big interview? Take that and multiply it by ten, and you’re still nowhere close enough to describing what’s going through your mind. My first meeting with in-laws at one point felt worse than taking the board exams.
Think I’m exaggerating? I’ll give you 7 reasons why I turned into such a bundle of nerves, so you can take a sneak peek into the inner workings of my brain.
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1. The meet and greet
“Should I touch their feet or should a handshake suffice?” Anyone who had to meet their prospective in-laws for the first time has faced this conundrum. What do you do when the door opens and you look at their faces? Do you abruptly aim to touch their feet or smile and go for a handshake?
What do you address them as? What should you even say? Undoubtedly, in the process of meeting for the first time, the most awkward stage has to be the first few minutes where the awkward silences fill the air. By this point, you’re considering saying just about anything to end the awkwardness.
2. What if they don’t like me?
The million-dollar question is if the in-laws will like the first impression, which can be a nerve-wracking scene for most. The doubts can make you overthink everything from your outfit to the things you’re going to talk about, only to not really come to a conclusion and wing it when you get there.
While your significant other may be confident in your likability, you’re not so sure yourself. The first meeting with the in-laws could make you ask yourself the question again and again, “What if they don’t like me?”
3. What if I knock over a vase?
If you are a clumsy person, chances are you will knock over more than one vase. I have personally witnessed my then-future brother-in-law drop a glass of water and bend over to clean it up. It was like watching Bambi learn how to walk, only in a super slow motion. This feeling is apt and may make one lose one’s cool.
Meeting in-laws for the first time makes you incredibly tense, and knocking something over was one of the things I was most concerned about, given how spectacular my hand-eye coordination is.
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4. What if I am politically incorrect for them?
They might be right-wingers and you couldn’t be further apart from the right. Politics is a big thing in some households. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of a heated debate about politics when you’re not sure if you should stand your ground or give in since you want them to like you so much.
Your best bet would be to steer clear of controversial topics. Stick to things like, “That’s a lovely view from the window” or “What beautiful furniture”, you know, the normal things people say when meeting in-laws for the first time. Forget your in-laws, try to not discuss politics with your partner as well, it probably won’t end well.
5. What if they ask me if I drink or smoke? Do I lie or do I tell the truth?
Sometimes, honesty might not be the best policy. It’s always safe to stay in the grey zone. Answer these kinds of questions with “Sometimes.” “Occasionally.” If they straight up offer you a beer, however, that’s where things get tricky. You can’t really say no to a tantalizingly cold beer, can you? But then again, you definitely don’t want to ruin your impression on the first visit.
Your spouse has probably spilled the beans of your indulgences anyway, so it might not even matter what you reply. Meeting your in-laws for the first time can really turn tricky that way but I kept the answers ambivalent to a large extent.
6. What if I fart accidentally?
Oh, boy! There is no going back from this. Fart as much you want once you are married, but on that first meeting, with the in-laws pull in all the reins and control yourself. The embarrassing moments aren’t just limited to farting, however. What if you drop something, say something stupid, burp, or even let an abusive word roll off your tongue?
I knew meeting his parents for the first time would be a difficult ordeal, but I never expected to be deathly scared of my own farts. Let’s just say I didn’t have any adventurous foods before I visited them.
7. Will they ask me serious questions or super chilled questions?
What if they aren’t questions at all and few assertive statements? Do I correct them? Or just let it go? Try to ask your partner as much about your in-laws as possible so that you can always be on the safe side. A wrong first impression may land you in more trouble than you think. Act wisely and prior information is the winning trump card.
If they ask you a chill question like “What’s your favorite type of wine?”, it might actually be a trap to figure out just how much you drink. The more you know about your future in-laws, the better you’ll be able to tackle these questions. “Oh I don’t have a favorite, I never go near that stuff” *wink*.
Related Reading: My Mother-In-Law Did What My Mother Wouldn’t Do
The stakes, the emotions, and the risk – everything is at an all-time high. Try not to lose your cool. Whatever you say can and will be held against you in the future. It’s challenging, but a little research goes a long way. Know the political inclinations, know which relatives aren’t much liked by your in-laws (steer clear of praising them), and the likes.
Once it’s all executed properly, you are gonna be loved and welcomed into the family with open arms. Think of it as an interview at the end of which you are gonna be paid with a whole lot of love. When I met my in-laws for the first time, I must say I was hyperventilating, but my in-laws put me at ease and accepted me with much love.
Instead of figuring out what to say, perhaps you should be asking your partner to tell you about things you should never say in front of your in-laws. The more you avoid talking about topics you shouldn’t, the more you’ll end up talking about things you should.
Be at the top of your game, be respectful, helpful, and loving. However, don’t portray a false image in an attempt to appear as pure as possible. Be yourself, but always remember to be kind and confident.
Ask your partner what your future in-laws like and dislike, and how you can go about talking to them about things they like. The more information you gather, the better idea you’ll have about how you can bond with them.