Stomping the Yard

Meet the Parents: Making a Good Impression

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While college is undoubtedly a place where people forge new and lifelong friendships, it is also a place where about a third of married couples meet their future spouses.  The holidays are often one of the first major tests of a new relationship.

Bringing home a new boyfriend or girlfriend can raise alarm for parents. Being in a relationship can be a major distraction from classes, and subsequently impact grades.

If you’re being introduced at this year’s family gathering here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Be Proactive – If you’ve been invited to dinner, be sure to ask how you can contribute. While they may not be looking for side dishes, things like ice, soft drinks, utensils, napkins, cups, etc. always come in handy during social gatherings. If your hosts insist that nothing is needed, bring a hostess gift to thank them for welcoming you into their home.

2. Look the Part – While no one expects you to arrive in a tux and tails, this certainly is not the time for saggy jeans, overt cleavage, or anything tight fitting.  Fellas, leave the Air Force Ones on the shelf for a night, and opt for an Oxford or leather boot. Also, remember to wear a pair of socks or hosiery that you don’t mind showing to the world. Every host is different and some are very adamant about shoes being removed at the door. You would hate for the whole family to see socks with holes and tights with runs. You can pick up a nice pair of trouser socks at Target for less than $5.<

3. Don’t Get Too Comfortable – Unless your hosts give you permission, don’t address them by their first names. If this is your first time meeting the parents, you definitely don’t want to come across arrogant or disrespectful. This includes the use of foul or profane language.  You don’t know them like that.  You might also want to rethink your beverage consumption. Even if you’re 21, it’s a good idea to lay off the alcohol for a night. If you’re driving afterward, stick to soft drinks, water, or the ever popular Kool-Aid!

4. Offer to Help with Clean Up – Once the meal ends, offer to help tidy up. Even if your offer is declined, it shows that you are thoughtful and considerate of your hosts. Definitely don’t wait for someone to clean up after you. If you leave the table, take your used plates and silverware with you. Leaving them behind for someone else to clean will not go unnoticed.

5. Put that Phone Away – Nothing says “I’m not interested” like being totally engrossed in your phone and completely ignoring the people around you. If your significant other has brought you around the family, then it’s a good indication that he or she wants you to get to know them. Instead, engage in conversation, watch the game, ask questions and express genuine interest. You can update your Facebook status later.

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. But keeping these pointers in mind will ensure that you’ll walk out the door having scored major points with the fam.


Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on FacebookYouTube and Twitter.