Getting acquainted with your girlfriend’s family can be scary, but you can turn scary into a full-fledged horror show by engaging in one of the six most disrespectful things you can do while meeting her parents. We didn’t bother to put the most obvious forms of disrespect on the list, such as belching, farting or vomiting on her mother’s new shoes. If you don’t know enough to avoid those behaviors by now, you’re much too far gone for us to help you. What we did include are six subtler forms of disrespect that could forever brand you as “that jerky boyfriend.”
Grab their daughter’s butt. A little arm around their little girl is OK while meeting her parents to show how much you adore her. But it’s not the time to showcase your lust for her by grabbing for her booty, looking down her shirt or playing footsie under the table. Your feet might have bad aim and you’ll find yourself rubbing your sock all over her dad’s calf.
Tune out. Meeting her parents is a time to wow them with your brilliance and knowledge, or at least show you can hold a conversation that stretches beyond “How are you?” Checking your text messages, answering your cell phone, or staring above their heads at the football scores on TV not only shows disrespect but makes it clear you don’t want to be there. You are making a statement that your texts, phone chats and sports scores are much more important than they are.
Make off-color jokes and comments. Tuning out is bad, but making inappropriate comments and jokes is even worse. Disrespectful and inappropriate comments and jokes include anything that contains racial slurs, raunchy references to sex or involve a rabbi, a priest and a politician at a bar. Keep your bad joke stockpile for your buddies at the bar, not meeting her parents.
Bring a crummy gift. Even if you want to make a good impression when meeting her parents, bringing a crummy gift is worse than not bringing any gift at all. Crummy gifts are basically anything that is chintzy, stupid or would piss them off – like a framed Sarah Palin poster for the diehard liberal. Or a giant plastic roach you place on her mother’s plate to show how absolutely hilarious you can be.
Show up drunk or proceed to get drunk. Being drunk is a major form of disrespect while meeting her parents, as it hints they are too intolerable for you to deal with while sober. Either that, or it simply showcases your out-of-control alcohol habits. Being drunk makes you sloppy, stupid and pretty much guarantees you will say or do something wholly idiotic that you’re going to regret for the rest of your relationship.
Treat them like a couple of geriatric fools. Pulling the chair out for mom or offering to foot the dinner check for dad may be cavalier, but there’s a fine line between being helpful and acting like they are invalids. Pulling the chair out for dad or offering to finagle the senior discount for the dinner check crosses the line. So does making banal conversation about the weather or top cartoon characters you usually reserve for children under 5 or someone over 105 suffering from Alzheimer’s in a nursing home.