The dreaded moment has arrived. After weeks of stalling and vague excuses, push has now come to shove and your new boyfriend is finally going to meet your parents – for Sunday lunch nogal.
What if he doesn't like them? What if they don't like him? What if they haul out your baby pictures, especially the one where you are a fat, friendly and bare-bottomed toddler running around in the garden? What if they ask him when you are getting married, or horrors, interrogate him about his life up until that moment?
So what now?
Relax. The more tense you are, the more tense all of them will be. Go for a run the morning before or go to the gym. Get it all out of your system.
Play it down. Don't change this meeting into an all-or-nothing event in your head. They may not like each other at first sight, but this could always change again later.
Don't pump up expectations. If you rave constantly about this wonderful man, they will be disappointed in anything less than an Adonis descending from Heaven in a fiery chariot. If you present your parents as perfectly ordinary to him, he can only be pleasantly surprised if they turn out to be extraordinary.
Do something together. A braai or a video or an event you can all attend together are all good ideas. The formal Sunday lunch, where you all sit and stare at each other in silence is a no-no.
This is not the time for experiments. Don't do something new with your hair and don't try out something fancy in the kitchen. Minimise the things which can go wrong or can stress you out.
On my stamping ground. Depending on the type of relationship you have with your parents, be prepared that you might see the man in your life in a new light. Maybe you realise he just won't fit into your life and your family's way of doing things, or maybe taking him home to mother makes you realise he is just perfect.
Invite someone else. Take a friend along as this always dilutes the tension. You parents are also less likely to harp on about the boyfriend you dumped in Barcelona and your one-week stint as a receptionist at a strip club.
Don't let your parents hear wedding bells. Tell them this is probably not a serious relationship. This will make the occasion less emotionally charged and will also stop them from making inappropriate comments.
Tell them you're not completely sure about him. Do this especially if you think this might be Mr Right. In this way, if they like him, they will think the relationship was their idea. - (Susan Erasmus, Health24, July 2004)