Sure, meeting the parents can cause some stress. Especially if you’re spending the weekend together, perhaps a holiday, but with these ten items you should be prepared for almost anything.
“Can I just throw my stuff in your bag?”
Rule #1 Step up your luggage game. (2 and 10)
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to invest in a couple of pieces of luggage. To start, I recommend a toiletry and carry-on bag. Toiletry bags are great because they ensure a certain level of privacy if you are sharing a bathroom. They also guard against the risk of opening your luggage only to find your clothes covered in some type of foam, gel and/or liquid nightmare.
“Oh, we’ll probably just hang out at the house. You don’t need to bring anything nice.”
Rule #2 Always bring an outfit that is appropriate for a dinner out. (1, 3, 4 and 9)
Old friends might want to meet up for drinks, the parents might want to treat you both to dinner, maybe dad wants some one-on-one time with you. These four pieces are great because they can each be worn again with something else you may have packed. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and pack a long sleeve pant and top which can both be cuffed if the weekend calls for casual attire after all.
“My parents are really casual, you can wear whatever you want around the house.”
Rule #3 Wear opaque clothing that doesn’t require explanation. (5 and 7)
Whether you actually sleep in them or not, bring a pair of lounge pants and a t-shirt. Each article of clothing should also fit loosely, leaving everything to the imagination. Both should be opaque and free of any stains, holes, or messages that require explanation. Perfect example, you’re favorite funny t-shirt that’s laden in innuendo, leave it at home. Just because you don’t think they’ll understand the joke, doesn’t mean they won’t ask for explanation. This will also ensure that the midnight run to the bathroom, or downstairs for a glass of water will go down without a hitch.
“We’ll have plenty of time to hang out, just the two of us.”
Rule #4 Bring something to entertain yourself. (8)
In theory, it sounds great, but more than likely the parents will steal some time with their child and you’ll be left to fend for yourself. When this time comes, you’ll be prepared because you brought a book, computer or project. The important thing to remember about this distraction is that it should be used sparingly and when appropriate. Family pictures again? Is Aunt Sue telling the same story for the fourth time? If everyone else is participating, now is not the time for you to sneak off and check email. A great indicator is the, “Are you going to be okay if I…” or “This should only take…” line. If you hear these just say, “I’ll find a way to busy myself, you have fun.” Works like a charm.
“You don’t need to bring anything; you’re not a real guest.”
Rule #5 Bring a gift or remember to mail one once you return home. (6)
If this is your first visit to the parents’ home, a gift is a kind gesture and shows that you appreciate them allowing you to stay. If you’re visited before, remember, until they tell you otherwise, you’re still a guest. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, bottle of wine, gift card to their favorite restaurant, or if funds are tight, a handwritten thank you note speaks volumes.
Now that you’re all packed, show them how you got the invitation in the first place.