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8 unwritten rules for meeting your girlfriend’s parents

Produced by comedy heavyweight Judd Apatow, THE BIG SICK, in cinemas July 28th, is the hilarious and heart-rending true story of a cross-culture romance that lays bare the comical awkwardness of contemporary dating, family ties and untimely comas. Starring Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, THE BIG SICK is this summer’s must-see romantic comedy.

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Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. In The Big Sick, Kumail meets his ex’s parents (played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) at the bedside of their comatose daughter – not quite the circumstances you’d choose (it’s a romcom, promise!) – so, ideally pick somewhere you feel comfortable, like your own place.

Your first meeting will usually fall into one of two camps; the ‘cringe-inducing memorable’ or the ‘happily forgettable’. Follow these steps to ensure your first foray into the family ends in the former:

1. Do your homework

Uncover a little about her parents before you go. Find out what they do, where they’re from and any off-limit topics. Their names are a nice touch too.

2. Don’t be overly familiar

True, your girlfriend says they’re “super relaxed”, but that’s when they’re interacting with her, not you. When you first meet, it’s best to keep those hilarious but soul-crushingly embarrassing anecdotes until a later date

3. Do be polite, but not fake

Don’t try too hard to impress her parents. Sure, bring along a cake you baked, but don’t constantly shower them with compliments, which can come across as insincere. If the pie crust was raw, choke it down, say it was still delicious, but don’t claim it was the greatest dessert you’ve been served.

4. Don’t fill silences with blabber

Just like on a first date, nobody likes a deafening silence in conversation. But don’t panic if there are pauses in the conversation. It’s better to come across as sincere and thoughtful, rather than appearing nervous.

5. Do tone down the PDA

You might want to jump into your girlfriend’s lap on the sofa, but cool down the displays of affection when you first meet. Some parents are super uncomfortable around public schmoozing, so work out what’s okay before you do.

6. Don’t drink too much

Have a glass of wine or two, but don’t get drunk – in the circumstances it’s better safe than sorry! A couple drinks might calm your nerves, but anything more is asking for trouble.

7. Do put a time restraint on your first meeting

Goodbyes can be awkward, so save yourself any potential discomfort by arranging a post-meeting plan which means you’ll have to be gone by a specific time.

8. Don’t make it all about you

Turn the tables on her parents and use your time together to carry out your own interview. Be inquisitive about their interests, likes and dislikes, and the time will fly by as they open up to you. Most parents love talking about themselves or their own relationship.

THE BIG SICK is in cinemas July 28.