I Asked People How To Make A Good First Impression On Your S.O.'s Mom

Your fool-proof guide to Mother's Day brunch with your S.O.'s family.

On Love, Lindsay Investigates, we usually focus on exploring romantic relationships, but while boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, your relationship with your mom lasts a lifetime. That's why who you bring home to meet her — and her impression of them — matters. According to a 2018 survey by relationship app Hinge, over 86 percent of millennial dating app users think it's important that their parents approve of their significant other. On the flip side, when meeting a partner's parents for the first time, dating app users reported treating them with respect was the no. 1 most important thing to do. 

To celebrate Mother's Day — and provide some last-minute tips to couples about to meet each other's moms for the first time —  I took to the streets of New York City to ask men and women two mom-approved questions: "How can you make a good first impression on a significant other's mom?" and "What has a significant other done to make a good first impression on your mom?" Their answers will make you laugh, cry (tears of joy), and want to hug your mom. 

First I talked to a mother named Kathy with two adult children. "Well, they had great table manners, which I always appreciate," she said referring to her kids' S.O.s. "And they were kind to each other, which gave me hope that they were in a good, positive relationship." What left the biggest impression on her wasn't what her kids' significant others said, however, but what they did. "I think their actions spoke more than their words did — how they just generally held themselves ... and they were really interested in learning more about our family," she said. "And we, of course, were interested in learning more about them." 

For LGBTQ couples, however, meeting mom isn't always easy, much less trying to make a good first impression. "To meet my parents, it was very easy because my parents were super cool and super laid back, but when I was meeting my husband's parents, it was a little trickier because he wasn't out of the closet," Luis, 37, said. "So being able to kind of just scope it out and read them to see if they were nice and gentle or if they were going to be abrasive ... I wanted to be their friend and get to know them and see what their story is." To make a good first impression, he made sure to be "super interested in them," which he genuinely was, and he soon "felt so at home with them."

Besides showing interest in and connecting with their mom, it doesn't hurt to bring a thoughtful gift that shows you took the time to learn about her personality. When 20-year-old college student Chassidy was about to meet the mom of her boyfriend Mike, a 22-year-old college student, she did just that. "I was super nervous. I remember I had a stack of books at home and ... I spent, like, a good 30 minutes trying to pick out the perfect book for her, and I finally did," she said. "At the end of dinner, I gave it to her and she was like, 'That's so sweet.' And I was so happy, and I left feeling like I accomplished something so great." 

But it wasn't the gift, but how it reflected on Chassidy's personality that really mattered. The couple both agreed that, ultimately, the best way to make a good first impression is to be yourself. 

"Don't try too hard. Just try to be genuine about it. People can kind of tell when you're overly excited or trying too much," Amari, 23 and single, agreed. "I think just being simple and polite and smiling and trying to be as friendly as possible without overdoing it is a good way to go about it." 

In fact, that was the conclusion of pretty much everyone interviewed. While you might want to be on your best behavior to present the best version of yourself, you still have to be yourself. After all, if all goes well, you'll be seeing their mom again, and they'll eventually get to know (and love) you as well as their own. 

Love, Lindsay Investigates, a subset of the Love, Lindsay column, is a series where A Plus's relationship guru/columnist ventures out into the world to ask people how they feel about a range of topics related to dating, relationships, and sex. Because, let's face it, everyone has an opinion when it comes to love. 

Want to see more Love, Lindsay Investigates? Check out last week's rendition where I took to the streets of New York City to ask men and women about their dating red flags and green flags.

And if you've got a burning love question you want me to answer or a relationship topic you'd like me to take to the streets, submit to lovelindsay@aplus.com

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