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Meeting the Parents and Winning Them Over

Two people hugging two old people.
Meeting the parents is a huge step forward in the relationship.

There are certain milestones in a relationship that a couple generally has to cross. The first date, the first kiss, the first fight, meeting each other’s friends, and so on and so forth.

One of the most important milestones is meeting the family. This can be especially important when dating someone from the Philippines, as family has an outsized role in a person’s life when compared to the United States, Great Britain, or some other developed country.

What exactly does this mean? It means that meeting the parents is probably the single most important step a guy has to take when he’s dating a woman from the Philippines.

Why Meeting the Parents Is So Important

Why is meeting the parents a big deal? And why is it so important that it goes well? You probably know a few people that are in happy relationships but aren’t exactly on good terms with their partner’s family.

Here’s the thing though: your relationship with your girlfriend’s parents, and extended family, will affect your relationship with your partner. If her parents don’t like you, she’s going to start not liking you.

And another thing: you may think that love conquers all, but filial piety conquers romantic love in the Philippines. So if her parents don’t approve of you, don’t even bother looking at engagement rings because she’s not going to marry you no matter how much the two of you want it. Because in the Philippines, people generally ask for their family’s permission to get married, no matter how old they are.

It may not seem all that logical to you, but the thing about dating a family-oriented woman is that she orients her life around her family. Their opinions will matter more than her wants.

Now, how do you win them over? And how long should you date before meeting family?

A young woman talking to an old woman.
Winning over families is an important part of a relationship.

When it comes to timing, it’s never too soon. Is 2 months too soon to meet parents? Is 1? No, and no. In the Philippines, you meet the parents as soon as possible. You go on one date and she may suggest meeting her family. Why is this?

Because she wants their approval. She wants them to sign off on you as soon as possible so she can move forward with the relationship. Without it, she’ll tread water. Or she might even end the relationship.

So, how do you win people over when meeting the girlfriend’s parents? And you will have to win over multiple people since Filipino families are tight-knit. It’s not just the parents that you have to win over, but also siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, her grandmother’s best friend, the list goes on and on. You’ll have to win all of them over because one errant word can land in the right ear and that’ll torpedo your whole relationship.

So meeting her parents isn’t just a big deal. It’s the biggest deal.

Learn about Them

So the first step before anything is to do your research. Ask your girlfriend about them to find out what they’re like, stalk their social media to find out what they like.

Find out all the information that you can about her parents and then present yourself in a way that’ll make you like them. Learn what the unwritten rules are about interacting, like maybe her dad likes to sit in a chair or her mom likes for certain words to go unuttered in her presence. You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.

Don’t Forget about Filial Piety

The next step towards winning over your girl’s parents is to be deferential towards them, especially towards the father. The Philippines is a patriarchal society and fathers like to believe they have absolute authority over their children, especially daughters. So defer to her parents, especially her dad.

A woman holding an old man’s wrist.
Be on your best behavior to make them want you as their son-in-law.

Bring them a gift

Something else that you can do to win them over is to bring something. Don’t get anything too extravagant, because then it might look like you’re showing off. Instead, get something simple. If it’s a simple get-together, bring a bottle of wine. If it’s a full-on party, bring a couple of cakes for dessert. Don’t show up empty-handed, but don’t come in with too much either.

Come in with something small but significant. Use what you learn from the above to come up with some gift ideas for your girlfriend’s parents.

Dress Appropriately

And don’t forget to dress well. While dress codes aren’t super strict in the Philippines, showing up to meet your girlfriend’s parents in a tank top and basketball shorts won’t win you any points.

But don’t show up in a suit and tie, either. For one, the climate isn’t at all suited to that type of clothing. And it’ll also make you look like you’re trying too hard to win them over. No one likes someone who tries too hard. If you want outfits to meet the parents in, try some jeans and a shirt.

Keep Things Family Friendly

Oh, and try to be affectionate with your girlfriend since they’re going to want to see evidence of your feelings for her firsthand. Hold her hand and put an arm around her shoulders.

Don’t kiss her, though. That’s the kind of thing that could scandalize conservative old people. Keep it G rated and you should be fine and avoid all of her relatives thinking of you as some lecherous foreigner.

Don’t forget to mind yourself. While meeting her parents will probably be a festive, party atmosphere. You’re supposed to have a good time. But, not too good a time. You don’t want to get drunk.

After all, you may not be a fun drunk and even if you are, your inebriation may not make the best of impressions. So have fun, but not too much fun because you still have to be on your best behavior.

Meeting the parents is a pretty important step in a relationship. It’s the first step towards building a solid future together. Therefore, treat the moment with the utmost reverence and respect. Because when you do experience challenges down the line, you can rely on her family to be there for you.

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