Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time can come with a lot of pressure. You fret about every detail; from the dress, you put on to your manner of speaking. If you are anything like me, you’d probably go over the meeting in your head a couple of times just to mentally prepare yourself.
While it is true that your relationship is primarily with their son, it still feels better to have his parents’ blessings than not. But then how does one differentiate a mom who’s just being courteous from one who actually likes you? What should you make of his dad’s silence at the dinner table?
Also, is the first meeting really your only chance of knowing how they feel about you, or is there still a chance they might warm up afterward? I will answer these questions and more. And hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be better equipped to notice even the most subtle sign that his parents approve.
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One of the earliest tells you will pick up from the parents of your boyfriend is their reaction to your presence. If they pay close attention to you, listen to what you have to say and ensure you’re well taken care of when you’re together, those are good signs.
However, if one or both of them seem distracted, look bored, or completely separate themselves from you, that kind of disrespect usually indicates the opposite of fondness.
You can also count on the fact that parents always want to know the type of person their children hang out with. It would be like what your mom or dad probably do when new friends start visiting you, a friendly exchange to get to know you, not an interrogation.
They’d be interested in everything from your upbringing to the company you keep now, where you grew up, what you do, what you’re passionate about, etc. Some parents know to apply discretion, so you don’t feel bombarded, and some don’t. But the good news is as long as they are asking questions, they are interested.
The type of conversation you have with your partner’s parents is a gold mine of clues. If they hate your gut or just don’t like you enough for their son, they would be careful not to give the impression that you may someday end up as their daughter-in-law.
If they hint at looking forward to getting to know you more, make grandkid jokes, or say something light in reference to your wedding, those are all good signs. As opposed to them only making small talk about the food or the weather without getting personal or asking questions. Especially the mom.
For some people, meeting the parents is a significant relationship milestone that doesn’t happen unless they are sure their partner is the one. On the flip side, some guys place so little premium on the act that they can introduce you to their mom on the first date.
Say, for instance, the latter category describes your boyfriend, they might be so used to seeing girls with him that all they do is say hello and bye. But if they like you, their reception of you would show that they want to see you again, no matter how long you’ve been dating their son.
Speaking of which, telling you they want to see you again is a promise in itself. If they now take it a step forward and put a specific time to when they’d like that to be, even better. It may not seem like much, but people don’t usually suggest follow-up meet ups with someone they can’t stand.
Such invitations usually come up when everyone is saying their goodbyes. They wouldn’t want to put you on the spot or make things awkward in case you say no. It may not even be a definitive event yet, could be a birthday party that’s still in the works, just another opportunity to get to know you more.
If it’s your first time with the ‘rents and they keep mentioning an aunt Sal that they’d have loved for you to meet, it doesn’t necessarily mean they love you. However, if, after bringing her up, his mom says the aunt will be around for the holidays and asks if you would like to come around, she likes you.
Though she may have her reason for wanting you to meet that person, I don’t think it would matter much if she herself didn’t like you.
Now, if instead of aunt Sal, your own boyfriend’s mom fixates on making sure you and her other kids get along, that’s a great sign. She may not be able to do anything about the one who brought you home, but she wouldn’t want you anywhere near her other kids if she thinks you’re bad news.
So, if you have a mother-in-law who regularly arranges gatherings that allow for you and your man’s siblings to bond, not only does she approve of you, she’s a keeper.
Speaking of gatherings, parents take advantage of family functions like parties and vacations to bond with their kids (and their partners). Since first meetings are usually rooted in politeness, one way to know for sure if they approve is getting an invite to subsequent family events.
Some parents, usually the mom, even take it up a notch by keeping you up to date on the planning of such occasions. But in a situation where you are the last to hear about these things or they even forget to invite you altogether, it’s all you need to deduce you’re not their favorite person.
Every parent wants the best for their kid, or at least most of them believe they do. That philosophy becomes their default from the moment they decide to keep the pregnancy till they draw their last breath.
Now even if circumstances force them to compromise in some ways, their filters kick back in when it comes time for that child to pick a life partner. Between that and people’s tendency to disassociate themselves from what they condemn, especially in public, getting introduced as their son’s SO indicates approval. Or at the very least, acceptance.
Notwithstanding, the tone with which they carry out the introduction also matters. It’s what differentiates reluctant acceptance (for their child’s sake) from genuine approval (because they like you).
If the latter is the case, pride (or vanity) might make them drag you across the country for a birthday party or another random function just to show you off. But if they are hesitant or curt about the introduction, or they avoid it altogether, you may still have a ways to go.
Believe it or not, it’s not only in movies that a mother blatantly says to a girl's face that her son’s ex is a better match for him. Although some women have the decency to wait for you to leave before telling that to their kid.
The ideal thing would be for them not to bring up his past relationship while you’re with them, but whether or not that’s a cause for alarm depends on the context. If they inadvertently come up in a story at the dinner table and nobody dwells on it, that might be fine.
But if one parent keeps comparing you to the ex, speaking of them fondly, and implying that they miss them being a couple, I wouldn’t feel too comfortable just yet.
You know you are in when your man’s parents start seeing you and him as a package deal. That is, wherever the snail goes, the shell follows. This usually happens when both parties have become so used to each other that an official IV even seems unnecessary.
The majority of us only experience this level of familiarity with the spouse’s family after marriage or in serious, long-term relationships. Unfortunately, it can also be borne of convenience, so if you’re still unsure how they feel about you at that stage, you may never be.
It’s one thing if your boyfriend or fiancé brings you home, leaving the ‘rents no choice but to be nice to you. And a whole other thing for them to, of their own volition, invite you to bond without him. (It’s not quite the same as them doing it because your partner begged.)
Usually, when one party doesn’t like the other, your boyfriend, being the connecting dot, would have to be present to make the atmosphere even remotely bearable. But if his mom asks to make Halloween crafts, decorate for the holidays or go to a function together without him, she probably likes you.
Some people tend to wear their heart on their sleeve, so if they feel affection for you, you’d know, and if it’s the other way around too, they can’t keep it hidden. In most cases, when a partner’s parent isn’t your biggest fan, they usually have their reasons.
Some of the more popular ones often revolve around your background/social status/education/job, etc., especially if the hostility begins as soon as they get to know you.
Usually, if the parent’s dislike doesn’t come between you and you’re SO first, these comments won’t stop unless he intervenes. It would only turn to criticism on their part of anything they can pick on, from how you dress to your parenting skills.
Mothers-in-law have a reputation of being a hardass with their daughters-in-law, and some fathers don’t make it easy either. Even though most moms think nobody is good enough for their little boy, if she likes you, she’d physically warm up to you.
I can understand if the dad tends to keep things strictly polite between you, but if his mom is feeling you, you’d know by how she greets you. Hugs or kisses are great signs. But if your relationship with her isn’t like that, compare the way she receives other people she likes to how she is with you. If it's close, she probably likes you.
Another positive sign that the ‘rents might like you for their son is when they ask to meet your parents. Getting introduced to them may have been planned or happened by happenstance, but it shows things are undoubtedly becoming serious when one side’s parents ask to meet the other.
While it’s also possible that they only ask because your boyfriend insists on marrying you, their level of enthusiasm can help put things in perspective. If your relationship with them hasn’t exactly been smooth and they send their child to tell you, they are probably not super crazy about you.
But if it comes up in conversation between you and them, and they seem excited about meeting your parents, it could mean they can’t wait to welcome you into their family.
It’s a good sign if the parents treat you like a (beloved) member of the family, whether that means including you in their holiday plans or keeping you in their prayers. They come out to support as the family does when you have a crisis and also show their solidarity when you have cause to celebrate.
Things won’t be awkward when you visit because once the parents approve, siblings tend to follow. Hell, his mom or dad might even be the one making your case to the rest of the household should anyone prove reluctant.
Just as the beloved child usually gets to do things on their terms, your significant other’s parents would let you go at your pace if they like you. The thing is, they probably want you to like them as much as you want them to approve of you.
So, they wouldn’t want to overwhelm you by exposing you to too much too soon. We all tend to put our best foot forward when we are trying to win someone over, after all. So, as much as they would want you to treat you as part of the family, you’d likely mostly see their good sides, at least for the time being.
Your relationship with your man is between you and him first and foremost, so most of what goes on it aren’t really anyone’s business. However, if his parents are the type who like to intervene, pay attention to whose side they take when you fight. From little arguments at the family house over a card game to those that could potentially lead to divorce.
If they like you, they wouldn’t want to lose you. And that means they’d be fair to you even when it seems reasonable to take their ward’s side. Even when you’re the one who is clearly at fault, they’d usually be the one who advises him to come back and mend bridges.
It’s a promising sign if you visit your boyfriend’s parents, and in addition to a warm welcome and the best of hospitality, they send you off with gifts. Even if his mom is in the habit of giving those who come to see her a souvenir, I’m sure not everyone who walks through their front door gets the honor.
Much more if they take the time to send you gifts when you are away. Whether it’s for the holidays, your birthday, or no reason at all, parents usually don’t send presents to their kids’ partner that they dislike.
Do you know how you tend to listen and carefully file away everything you’re told when getting to know someone you like? They might be like that as well. Perhaps mid-conversation, you mention something important to you like an upcoming promotion or even your birthday.
If your boyfriend’s parents or even one of them (most likely the mom) reaches out on that day, they definitely like you. Of course, this is not to say that parents who don’t remember their child’s partner’s birthday absolutely dislike them, but it’s certainly a plus if they do. I mean, some parents won’t even remember your name if they don’t like you.
Another sign common to the moms when they have a soft spot for you is taking you under their wing-like they do their daughter. They would advise you, care for you, try to spend time together, basically put effort into the relationship so you can be as comfortable with them as possible.
To be honest, this is the best kind of MIL you have, although only some of us get a chance to meet such. These are the women who have always wanted a girl (or one like you), so once they strike a connection with you, you automatically become the daughter they never had.
If you are married or engaged or are domestic partners with a guy and you’ve never had the privilege of being asked to join the family picture, his parents don’t like you. Some people who do wouldn’t even wait till things are super serious before asking you to join, especially for those light-hearted photos no one plans to frame.
If you’re always either the designated photographer or never invited to the family events where the best photos get taken, it may not be on purpose, but it also might be. Remember, when people like you, they want to associate themselves with you.
Thanks to social media, being in the same room with someone is no longer the only way to know how they feel about you. Everything has gone digital, and everyone is always online, even your boyfriend’s gray-haired dad, when he has the time.
However, you know how it is on the gram and its relatives; no one posts their failures and embarrassments, only the details they feel good about. So, if you spend a day with their family and you see it up on their Instagram or Facebook story, unless they are politicians and it’s a photo op, they probably love you.
The deal with some parents is that when it’s right, it’s right. If they have no reservations towards you or your relationship with their son, you can count on having your five minutes of fame with them. In other words, they’d be excited to get to know you better and wouldn’t be ashamed to show it.
They want to know when next they get to see you again before you can say your goodbyes. If it’s not an invitation to some function, it’s that they want you to come over to the house and meet some people, or any other way they know to bond.
When there is no love lost between you and your (potential) in-laws, your interactions tend to be limited to only when it’s absolutely necessary. Maybe when there is an emergency, and they can’t reach your partner, or when something brings the whole family and their plus ones together.
Small talks do not characterize such a relationship, much fewer heart-to-hearts because no one willingly puts themselves in uncomfortable situations. However, when these people randomly pick up the phone to call you, text to see how you are doing, or keep up with you on social media, these are promising signs.
On a more specific note, if, despite all the means of keeping up with each other these days, they leave their house to come to see you, I wouldn’t take that for granted. Whether it’s to grace your college graduation, attend your work event, or visit you in the maternity ward, it’s an act of love.
Many of these signs may leave room to poke holes in them because, ultimately, no one can presume to really know anybody. However, as far as they all go, leaving their comfort zone to travel across state lines doesn’t sound like something people do for those they dislike.
Because we can sense how people feel about us, the atmosphere between you and your boyfriend’s parents would always be tense if they don’t have a lot of love for you. You’d never feel completely at home in their presence, even if they are in your own house.
There will always be a need for you to prove yourself before getting basic consideration from them. What other wives and partners that they like in the family can do and get away with would set them off coming from you. But when the reverse is the case, well, the reverse is the case.
When they need him to do something, they ask you first. When they want to be sure he makes it to an event, they go through you. When they need him to listen, it’s you they call. These all mean that, at the very least, they’ve come to terms with how important you are to their son.
While it may also suggest that any fondness that develops from there is because you serve a purpose, who says only unconditional love counts? Is there even such a thing as that?
It’s one thing to allude to the fact that you might have a future with their son and another one entirely to actively ask what you are doing. If your SO’s parents seem invested in your post-college plans, where you want to live, what you want to do after, it’s a good sign.
In my experience, parents usually do this to gauge your compatibility with your boyfriend as well as how they might fit into your future together. They may also try to find out where you and your partner stand on marriage, children, and the other stuff starting a family entails.
My friend’s boyfriend’s mom added her name to the beneficiary list of a grant she’d been working on for years. It was their second meeting ever and the first time having a one-on-one conversation, and she got to work as soon as she left—all without her son asking.
She also sent her off with gifts and invited her to an event she had the following month. By and large, this woman had done more than enough to make my friend feel loved and welcome, but she still chose to go the extra mile. Her obligation was to her son, but she decided to invest in his girlfriend’s future alongside his, just for the simple reason that she liked her.
The closest you can get to the truth about how someone feels about you is if it comes from them. Your boyfriend loves you, and his parents love him, so he may tell you his folks will eventually come around if you don’t hit it off right away because what’s not to like?
Unfortunately, your man’s words aren’t enough, because aside from the fact that he sees the best of both worlds, he could just be saying it to spare your feelings. Hearing it from the horses’ mouths, however, is another thing entirely because even if they don’t mean it, that they care enough to lie signals hope.
As you probably already know, that people are nice to your face doesn’t mean they really like you. More so, that every personality is unique, so obviously, not all parents are the same. Where some people are all about the hugs and kisses in your presence, some show their love when you’re not there.
So as much as you want to pay attention to what they do in front of you, also try and get feedback on how they talk about you after leaving. Maybe liaise with your man or his siblings, if you are close, to know what they say of you at home, to their friends, work colleagues, neighbors, or even amongst themselves.
Not every parent will fall in love with you right away. Sometimes, it’s the mom who falls first, other times, it’s the dad who sees potential in you. And in some situations, they both start off on the same page, united in their indifference or even dislike for you.
It might be the case that they are not yet convinced you are right for their son, or you are so different from what they imagined that their disappointment gets palpable. If, after an encounter like this, they apologize and show they are willing to open their mind and get to know you, it’s a beacon of hope of a cordial future, at least.
His parents may be expected to say hello and perhaps goodbye to you when you visit their home, but they have no obligations per se to do beyond that. If they decide to go out of their way to warm up, smile, play, and essentially be friends with you, it must be because they like you.
Even better if they take that up a notch and maintain the relationship beyond the demands of courtesy. So much so that you could part ways with their son, and they’d still want to stay in touch.
Good parents know that it’s getting rarer to find and sustain a meaningful relationship by the day. So, when their kid brings home someone with a high potential to make him happy and build the life he desires with him, they tend to want to hold on to them.
As long as they are convinced you to make the cut, they can go as far as fighting battles for your sake just to keep you around.
Finally, you just know. Between their body language and word of mouth, and even what happens when you are not there, your instincts will tell you if they want you around. From your interactions with them, you’d see them as people you can count on.
You might be a little nervous around them, especially at first, but you’d generally be at ease because you know these people want you around.
You can tell if your boyfriend's family likes you by how they interact with you. If they are warm and seem interested in getting to know and cultivating a relationship with you, that's a good sign.
If your boyfriend's parents don't like you, they wouldn't want anything to do with you unless they had to. Their contact with you would only be limited to when you absolutely have to be in the same room together, and they'd probably do what they can to influence their child against you.
If you are trying to get his family to like you, you have to uniquely approach each member. Start by treating them all from the youngest to the oldest with respect. Bring his dad a gift when you visit and spend some time with his mom to see if you can develop a relationship with her. If he has siblings, be friendly to them. Sometimes all it takes is for one of them to like you first, and then the others follow.
All you can really do is show them how much you care about their child. If they gave specific reasons why they don't like you, you can try and work on what you can. But if they remain adamant despite your best efforts to fix things, a conversation with your boyfriend might be in order.
Guys who are close with their mom may open up to her if they like someone, but not every guy does that. Some people prefer to keep such matters to themselves until the time comes for the parents to officially be made aware.
Relationships are complicated. Each relationship milestone comes with specific events that can make the previous stage look like child’s play. If your primary source of concern right now is figuring out how your partner’s parents feel about you, I hope this helps. At any rate, kindly leave your thoughts on this in the comments and share the article if you liked it. Thanks.