Want a long, hard life? Most of us don’t. But then we behave in less than stellar ways toward our future or new in-laws. It could be we do not know better, or that we are too lazy to put in the effort. Whatever the excuse, it is an excuse and you could be setting yourself up for a world of pain by not caring enough.
In-laws are not that hard to please. If you are a halfway decent sort, your new in-laws will know that you are committed to making their daughter or son happy. So if you show you care, that is often more than enough. And how does a wannabe so or daughter in law do that?
Here are ways to show your new mother or father in law that you care very much.
And you need to start paying attention before you meet them. Start at the first mention your significant other makes about her family. Nothing is more impressive and satisfying to an in-law than to hear that their offspring has been talking about them. If needed, take notes about hobbies, fields of interest, favorite authors, favorite sports teams, etc.
On a different but related note, do your homework. Be sure to ask your significant other what topics are safe and what you should steer clear of talking about. Having an idea of where dragons lie asleep will help you avoid dangerous territory and keep the conversation enjoyable.
Dress like you care.
Put thought into what you wear. Or, at the least, do not show up at your first meeting in jean shorts and flip-flops. It should not matter. And yes, they should be able to see straight to your heart of gold. But, unfortunately, no one is above judging others based on their outfit for the day.
At the very least, make sure your clothes have no rips, stains, off-putting odors, wrinkles, or missing buttons. But try to shoot above the bare minimum of chic fashion. Go for elegant over fashionable. And classics over trends.
Don’t skimp when it comes to gifts.
As soon as you know that you want your current relationship to last, find out important dates in your in-law’s lives and step up your gift-giving game.
It is more about the thoughtfulness than the gift itself. For example, if you know that your new in-law is a woodworker, get these Atlanta branding heads so they can stamp their products with their initials. Moves like this show that you have spent time in thinking about what will make them happy. And you will find that often, it is the thought and effort that you put forth that will win you the most brownie points.
Even if your significant other is out of the habit of getting his or her parents a gift, you should still engage in this tradition. There is little more endearing to parents than a son or daughter in law who knows how to give the perfect gift.
We should not have to say this, but minding your manners will matter to your in-laws. In fact, manners matter in most social situations. But for anyone in the generation before yours, it’s better to err on the side of politeness and formality than casualness. You might need to earn the right to call them by their first name. Practice good table manners, and brush up on social etiquette guidelines if you need a refresher. Comport yourself well, not only with your in-laws. But be aware that they will be watching how you behave toward their son or daughter. As well as the wait staff at a restaurant and anyone else in the vicinity.
Be well-behaved toward everyone and establish that as a habit. And then you can worry less about making the wrong move.