How to What Are Some Topics to Talk About when Meeting His Parents

Meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time can be nerve-racking. You want them to like you, but what should you talk about? Whether you’re frantically searching for conversation topics on the car ride over or you’ve got a week to prepare, we’ve got you covered. To help you take the stress out of your visit, read on for talking points and conversation starters you can use to make a great impression on your partner’s family.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Talk about your partner’s strengths.

  1. Let his parents know they did a good job raising him. Express that you’re proud of your partner’s accomplishments and that he treats you well. By showing his parents that you appreciate their son, they’ll be more likely to think highly of you![1][2]
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    • Share a moment when your partner did something you admired: “I feel really lucky to be dating Sam. He’s so considerate, and yesterday, he helped a kid fix her bike chain.”
    • Talk about your partner’s success: “I’m so proud that Zamari got promoted. He works so hard!”

[Edit]Start a conversation about your partner’s childhood.

  1. Ask what your partner was like when he was younger. This one’s a super easy and fun topic, especially if you aren’t sure what to say. Parents usually love to talk about their kids, and they might even offer up some funny anecdotes.[3]
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    • “I bet William was the class clown in middle school. What did his teachers think of him?”
    • “What was Kuhan like when he was younger?”

[Edit]Inquire about family photos.

  1. Get the story behind a framed photo or even a screensaver. You can learn more about your significant other’s family history or childhood by starting a conversation around a photo. Just be sure to keep your comments respectful, and understand that a photo might capture a really meaningful memory of a loved one or place.[4]
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    • Point out resemblances: “Is that Ishaan’s grandfather? They have the same eyes.”
    • Ask about photo locations: “Where did you take this photo? It’s so beautiful.”

[Edit]Ask about family vacations or activities.

  1. Keep the conversation fun by inquiring about past, present, or future travel plans. If your partner’s family hasn’t gone anywhere specific, you can ask about where they’d like to vacation. You can even ask about family traditions or local trips if his parents don’t travel.[5]
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    • Get the scoop on family traditions: “Jacob told me you do family picnics every Sunday. Where do you go?”
    • Learn about past trips: “How was your backpacking trip?”
    • Find out about future plans: “What would your dream vacation look like?”

[Edit]Get them talking about where they grew up.

  1. Start with a simple question to learn about their city or region. Then, you can ask more specific questions about their favorite things to do in the area, how they ended up somewhere else (if they moved), or how they decided to stay (if they’re in the same place now). People like to talk about themselves, and you’ll get to learn more about the family who raised the person you’re dating. If you can do a little research ahead of time, you can even look up the place and then ask them about a specific feature of their hometown.[6]
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    • If you’re not familiar with the area, ask, “What did you like most about growing up there?”
    • If you know something about the area, follow up with a specific question like, “Wow. They have that great stadium there, right? Did you ever go to a game?”

[Edit]Ask for book, movie, or music recommendations.

  1. Learn about their tastes and see if you have things in common. Talking about popular media is a great entry-level conversation topic if you don’t know much about his family. Once his parents let you know about their interests, ask follow-up questions to show that you value their perspective and to keep the conversation going. You can even share a book, movie, or band you like that seems similar to what they’re mentioning.[7]
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    • “Have you read anything good lately?”
    • “What’s the best movie you’ve seen?”
    • “What music do you like listening to?”

[Edit]Bond over shared interests.

  1. Ask your partner beforehand about his parents’ interests. Interests can mean hobbies, skills, background, etc. If you have anything in common, prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask about that bit of common ground. Keep in mind, you’ll want to stay authentic, so don’t pretend to like something for the sake of making conversation. They want to get to know the real you.[8]
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    • “Marcel mentioned that you’re interested in gardening. I’m starting an herb garden. Do you have any tips?”
    • “I want to study to become a doctor. What do you like about your career?”

[Edit]Bring up your partner’s other family members.

  1. Show his parents you’re interested in learning about his family. Whether or not you’ve met your partner’s siblings, you can ask about how they’re doing or what they’re like. If there’s a beloved family pet, you can ask about where they got the pet, how they named the pet, and ask to see cute pictures of the animal.[9]
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    • “Your daughter is studying to be a nurse, right? How does she like her school?”
    • “I’ve never gotten to meet his older brother. What’s he like?”
    • “Harvey seems like a great dog. Do you have any puppy pictures of him?”

[Edit]Give compliments and express thanks.

  1. If you’re ever unsure what to say, try this. Pick out a nice aspect of the family home/venue, a unique decoration, or delicious part of the meal and genuinely express your admiration and gratitude. You’ll win your partner’s family over by being polite, and you can use the object as a jumping off point for conversation. Follow up your compliment with an open-ended question about the thing you’re admiring.[10][11]
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    • Compliment décor: “This living room feels so bright and welcoming. Where did you get that sofa?”
    • Mention the meal: “Thank you so much for dinner. Where did you learn how to make this?”

[Edit]Stay away from controversial topics.

  1. Steer clear of family drama, religion, and politics. If someone else brings up a controversial topic and you disagree with what they’re saying, consider whether it’s worth weighing in. If you feel super strongly about the cause or issue, you can voice your opinion in a respectful and well-informed way. Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable expressing disagreement, wait to share your opinion until you know his family better.[12]
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    • Express polite disagreement by saying, “I have a slightly different perspective on that,” which is more subtle than “I disagree.”[13]
    • Laugh off awkward comments or say, “I really don’t know what to say!”[14]

[Edit]Avoid complaining or criticizing.

  1. Whether you’re asked about movies or your work, stay positive. If someone asks you about something you don’t like, try to redirect the conversation. It’s okay to express a little bit of dislike or to state when you disagree, but do it tastefully and with moderation so that you don’t seem rude.[15]
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    • You can redirect the conversation by asking a question about someone else’s life, “That class wasn’t my favorite, but I learned a lot. What’s something that stuck with you from college?”
    • If you feel strongly, try to temper your criticism, “Oh, that movie wasn’t my favorite, but I thought the music was really beautiful.”

[Edit]References

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