So you’ve reached the stage in your relationship where it’s time to meet the parents. Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far than it means that things are getting serious. Meeting the parents isn’t something you do on a second or third date. Or even the first month typically. It’s something you do when you’ve been together long enough to know that the person you’re dating isn’t just another fling and you can actually see it going somewhere.

So, if you’re at that stage in your relationship and are ready to take the next step to meet the parents, hats off to you my friend. However, meeting the parents can be extremely stressful. You want to make sure that you’re making a good first impression. Especially if you really like the person and plan on being around for a long time. You want to be yourself, but at the same time, you want to make an effort. So where’s the middle ground? What can and can’t you do? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here’s all the do’s and don’ts of the first time you meet the parents.

DO Be Yourself

Nothing is worst when you start pretending to be someone you’re not because you want to make a great first impression. The trouble with that is you’re giving a false impression of you are. Just keep things natural and be yourself. If you’re meeting the person it means that the person you’re seeing likes you for who you are and wants their parents to see that.

DON’T overdo it on the PDA

We get it. The early stages of the relationship are usually the part where you can’t keep your hands off each other. However, if you’re meeting the parents, it means that you’ve been together for at least a few weeks so you can control yourself. Besides, no parent wants to see their daughter/son getting kissed or groped in front of them. Keep things to a minimum. Holding hands, a kiss on the cheek or a quick peck on the lips are the way to go. Anything more is overkill and just completely inappropriate.

DO Make an effort on your Wardrobe

You’re meeting the parents, so you want to be showing the best version of yourself. Therefore, make an effort on your appearance. Depending on the situation and where you’re going, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wear a suit and tie, or a dress. But at least bring it up a notch from your regular day clothes. Meaning, wear your nicest jeans or a cute dress. It will give the impression that you cared enough to make an effort. And ladies, keep sexy to a minimum. No parent wants to see your cleavage or short skirts. There are a time and place for flaunting your assets and meeting the parents for the first time is not that time.

DON’T show up empty handed

Depending on whether you’re going to the restaurant or the parent’s place, don’t show up empty-handed. Grab a bottle of wine on the way or a bouquet of flowers for the mom. Even a box of chocolates or a cake for dessert will be much appreciated.

DO make conversation

If you’re meeting the parents then it means they want to know about you. So don’t be the shy person who answers the questions with a “yes” or “no”. Talk about yourself, your family, career, hobbies… Obviously, don’t be the person who just talks and doesn’t let anyone else get a word in, but make conversation. Interact with the parents. Ask them questions. Get to know them and the person you’re dating. It will show you’re interested in.

DON’T let them pick up the bill

This one really depends on the situation. If you’re having dinner at their place, great you have nothing to worry about. But this goes with a previous point about not showing up empty-handed. Since you don’t have to pay, at least bring a bottle of wine or sweets. However, if you’re going to the restaurant, then that’s when things get tricky. Obviously, if you’re going to a 5-star restaurant where you can’t even afford your own meal then maybe let them take the bill in this case and promise to cover the next one. But, if you’re going somewhere more affordable in your budget if you can afford it pay for the entire bill or at least offer to split the cost. Make sure to pay for your date, however. You don’t want their parents thinking you can’t even afford to take out their son/daughter out.