I think the first time I ever brought a significant other home, I was super stressed. What would my parents think? Would they like them? How would I know?! Needless to say, there are ALWAYS things parents are looking for, no matter how old you are.
When Reddit user @Umikaloo asked, "Parents of Reddit: How do you feel when your kid brings back a girlfriend/boyfriend? How do you decide whether you like them or not?" I knew someone out there needed the secrets. Here are a few parents who have learned a thing or two along the way:
1. This parent who doesn't want a yes-man:
"I first met one of my kids' partners when they both joined us on a weekend away. We had a discussion on some general subject in which he disagreed with me. He defended his position rather than deferred to me. Good chap."
2. This sweet, sweet naive parent who wants to keep things cool:
"My daughter just started dating. She was mortified when I picked them up and asked if everything was Gucci."
3. When someone makes a kind gesture:
"When they interact and help out the rest of the family. When my daughter didn’t understand her homework and then her sister's boyfriend helped her, it showed how much he actually cared."
4. These parents who deserve the parent of the year award:
"My husband and I always like the person unless there's something terribly wrong with them. First of all, we want our kids to trust us and never to disregard our opinion because they think we don't like anyone. Secondly, we would never want our kids to feel like they have to choose between their mate and us. Thirdly, most young people are fairly okay, so no point in acting like no one can be good enough for our precious babies."
5. These parents who prove love is about the little things:
"My 4-year-old daughter introduced me to the 5-year-old neighbor kid as her boyfriend — she told me he's really good at running fast and he appreciates snails as much as she does. Needless to say, this is a keeper."
6. This parent who understands time tells all:
"I feel excited for them because it’s that wonderful time at the start of a new relationship and it’s exciting to see them happy and enjoying this new experience. I’ve been fine with all the people I’ve been introduced to so far, maybe as I know that the likelihood of these relationships won’t last. Time will tell once their relationships become more serious."
7. This reciprocal parent that sorta crossed the line, but in a good way:
"I said, 'Whatever you do to my daughter, I will do to you.' I've been stuck giving him emotional support and validation for three years. That darn bastard."
8. This parent who says support wins, unless they're a killer (which we agree with):
"My 13-year-old daughter wanted me to meet her first 'real' boyfriend. I was nice and pleasant, but I knew it wouldn't last because he was all looks and no brains. Of course, as most junior high relationships go, it was about a two-month ordeal. I think all parents should try and be cordial, unless the person feels like a serial killer or something."
9. This parent who knows the key to a long and happy relationship:
"My eldest is 15, and boys in high school can be gross. But my daughter's boyfriend is respectful to her and her family. Most importantly, they're the same brand of weird. They FaceTime 19 hours a day, I swear, but yesterday they had an entire conversation about penguins both using the same weird fake-Russian accent. He's her safe place and, without very good cause, I'd never get in the way of that."
10. This moment that proves sometimes parents just know:
"My parents both instantly liked the first super-nerdy boy I brought home. He didn't even have to talk before my dad was beaming at him. It was weird, TBH. I married the nerdy guy, so their instincts were good, so idk."
11. This parent who knows that sometimes you'll just have to disagree to agree:
"My stepdaughter's boyfriend came into MY house, and we were talking about computer games. He had the audacity to tell me why Red Dead 2 was better than God of War. IN MY HOUSE! But respect to the lad for that, he stuck to his principles — a year later, he still argues with me about gaming stuff."
12. This parent who realizes you can't judge a book by its cover:
"When my oldest daughter introduced her first serious boyfriend, he was an awkward kind of guy, was pretty unremarkable, but he got super animated about topics that interested him. I had a chat with him about my daughter, and he got animated. They've been married for nine years. Good guy, works hard, is a staunch advocate for his wife, and I love his smile when he looks at their kids."
13. And lastly, this significant other who understands the best thing they can do is be themselves:
"My girlfriend's roommate is this old, grizzled Marine dude. She told me that he liked me because I didn't try to get him to like me, which apparently most people do. I was just myself and acted naturally, which he appreciated. Just be yourself and the people that will like you will like you, and the people who won't won't. But always be respectful."
Are you parent or have you ever brought your significant other home? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.