A 28-year-old man has been slammed on Reddit for what he chose to wear to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.
In the post on the AmItheA****** subreddit—”a catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong”—user Relevant_Rip_2674 explains that he and his girlfriend have been dating for a few months.
“Things have gone well; we get along well so far and I really care about her and hope things work out with us,” he said.
He goes on to explain that his 23-year-old girlfriend lives with her parents, who are “Indian immigrants to the U.S, and I am white,” and that his outfit of choice included an Iron Maiden T-shirt.
“That’s just how I dress and that shirt just happened to be clean that day,” he said. “I went and met her parents and thought we’d had a good meeting.”
“Personally, I think the boyfriend should have asked, not assumed that it was OK to wear such a casual outfit,” Jenny Mahlum, a psychotherapist based in New York, told Newsweek. “While you’d expect your partner to tell you if there were any major no-no’s, it’s also your responsibility to ask it there are topics or behaviors that may be received poorly by the parents.
“Similarly, communicating any worries or questions with your partner could reveal you share similar concerns, bringing you closer together in the relationship.”
The boyfriend revealed that his girlfriend was not happy with him.
“She feels as if me dressing in a T-shirt rather than a nicer button-up shirt was bad enough, but that wearing a shirt with skulls on it was—in her words—’just obnoxious,'” he said.
The girlfriend believed that her boyfriend was “obviously stupid and inappropriate,” while the OP said: “I think that if she had certain standards that she should have communicated them to me beforehand”.
According to a study by dating app Hinge, most millennials introduce a new partner to their parents after 10 or more dates, or a little more than two months into the relationship on average. In an article in Psychology Today, Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. suggests that it takes roughly six months to really get to know and feel comfortable with someone.
“While it’s important to be yourself, it could be a good idea to ask your partner to help you choose, as this is a special occasion where first impressions matter” said Mahlum. “I also advise making the implicit explicit, asking your partner what expectations they have for the first meeting, and talk openly about any misaligned expectations or needs.”
Mahlum shared her top five tips for meeting parents:
- Ask thoughtful questions: This requires good listening as well, don’t be in a rush to talk about yourself.
- Be grateful and courteous: Don’t go overboard or you might sound insincere, but “please” and “thank you” go a long way.
- Be specific and genuine with any compliments you give: Again, use these sparingly, but employ them when you really mean them.
- Let your personality shine through so they can get to know you too.
- Be kind and respectful toward everyone—the parents, your partner, anyone else in the environment.
Reddit users voted the OP an a******, with one commenting that he was too old to be acting as he was: “That’s what got me. He’s 28! A full-grown adult who should know how to act in various adult situations.”
One user was more sympathetic though: “I’m 48 years old and my first impression would have been that my daughter’s boyfriend has excellent taste in music.”
Newsweek has reached out to Relevant_Rip_2674 via Reddit for comment.
Have you noticed any red flags that made you end a relationship? Let us know via email@example.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.
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