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He said, she said: relationship advice

Met the parents – and they don't seem to like me

Relationship Columnists

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 13:10

“My girlfriend’s parents don’t seem to like me. Dinners are awkward and I am never invited to family events, unlike my girlfriend’s sister’s boyfriend. What can I do to change their view?”

He Said:
One thing tends to be consistent – you cannot make anyone like you. It just has to happen naturally. In a tough situation like this, the only thing you can really do is try to be honest and up-front with the family. If things are consistently awkward, do your best to address it directly. Sure, it may be uncomfortable, but ultimately, it has to be addressed. Hopefully, by addressing it directly, there can be some sort of open communication.

There could be a lot of misconceptions flying around, too. Perhaps they have the perception that you don’t like them, which could be a reason for their cold attitude towards you. Again, if you address it directly, you could clarify that this isn’t how you feel and that you want things to be friendlier between you and the family.

I would certainly confide in your significant other. See if they can provide any type of insight as to why things are like this. Maybe there is some history when it comes to significant others that you don’t know about, and the parents have been skeptical ever since. You never know; people have wacky reasons for everything.

Ultimately, it boils down to communication. You can be the sweetest and most thoughtful person you can be, but once an impression is set, it’s typically set for good. The only way you can change it is if you open up and try to see why you are being treated unfairly in the first place. Best of luck. I hope that the family will be willing to be more accepting of you.

She Said:
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes parents a while to warm up to their child’s significant other. But you have to remember that if they’re feeling a little iffy about you, it’s just because they want to remain cautious and be a little overprotective of their daughter. In some cases, the parents and the significant other instantly have a great connection, but in others it just takes a little time and effort on both parts — trust me, I know.

Hopefully they’re at least giving you a chance to prove yourself “worthy.” Though, by not inviting you to family events, they’re kind of preventing that opportunity. I’m guessing your girlfriend’s sister’s boyfriend has been around longer than you.

Once someone new comes in the picture (you), they immediately feel more comfortable with the old (him) and he becomes a part of the family. It sucks, but honestly, it’s just the way some families are wired.

When you ARE given the chance to spend time with them, which seems to be at family dinners, just take that opportunity to be as friendly and polite as possible. If you do nothing wrong, then they have no real reason to dislike you. If they still don’t warm up, then it’s kind of their issue that they need to work out. But my advice to you is to not give them a reason to be wary of you. Be as kind, generous, helpful and personable as possible! They won’t have a reason to disapprove.

In the midst of all your sweetness and charm, don’t forget to be yourself too! (Not that you aren’t already these things). But if you’re someone to start conversation, then be that person when you’re around them, too. If you’re someone who likes to make people laugh, then be that person. Be you… just make sure it’s the best “you” you can be.

Eventually, you’ll find out if they accept you or not. In most cases, it just takes time. So hold on — things aren’t over yet. But if you find that after years and years they still can’t welcome you into their family, then fine — you’ve done the absolute best you can.

Sometimes people just don’t mesh well. That doesn’t mean that you and your significant other can’t have the best relationship ever. It is possible. In the end, it comes down to the happiness and love between the two of you.


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