First impressions can make or break a relationship. You might blow someone away and become fast friends (or fall in love at first sight!), or you may blunder and find yourself wishing you could do it all over again. When it comes to your relationship, one of the first impressions you really want to get right is that first "meeting of the parents" moment. No one is perfect, so here are a few tips from our experts to help you recover if it didn’t go the way you’d planned.
Whether you were having a bad day, made a joke you didn’t know would be so poorly received, or totally missed that the restaurant had a dress code, it can be frustrating to feel like you got off on the wrong foot with your in-laws. The good news is, there’s a way to make up for it!
The first key to remember is consistency. Sure, you can dress up the next time you see your in-laws, but if you don’t consistently make sure you’re dressed appropriately and have taken the time to put yourself together, it will seem more like you were trying to make up for it and less like that first instance was a one-off. By consistently behaving or presenting yourself the way you normally would, your in-laws will realize that they’re seeing the real you.
If your blunder was a little more personal, such as an off-color joke or an argument about politics (seriously, don’t let the conversation get to politics if you can avoid it), offer a timely apology. Write a note (text, email, or old-fashioned hand-written) to your in-laws apologizing for what might have made them uncomfortable, and acknowledge that you were nervous about meeting them and that may have gotten the best of you. Remember to always be gracious and offer your help if the situation arises.
You may not get a second first impression, but how you interact with your in-laws in the future will say much more about you than that first meeting ever will. Instead of shying away from any interactions out of embarrassment, make a point to get to know them and to let them get to know you. As you become more comfortable and familiar with one another, anything you might have said or done that rubbed them the wrong way will be erased when they get to see the real you.