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First Meetings with Prospective In-Laws

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  1. Leave the motorcycle home.

    Your vehicle sends a potent message.

  2. Don't Go There

    Don't park in the family's driveway or block the driveway so that no one else can get in or out. That spot is usually reserved for someone who lives there, pays the bills, and is just itching to find something wrong with you.

    Family Matters

    Making eye contact can greatly improve your chances of creating a good first impression.

    Family Matters

    What can you do if you get trapped in a sticky conversation? For example, what happens if someone asks you to name the human race's single greatest achievement? If you're backed into a corner, go with something safe like "democracy," the "polio vaccine," or "frozen pizza." The "remote control" is not a good choice.

  3. No curbside service.

    If you're picking up your date, get out of the car. Walk up to the house. Ring the bell. Go the whole nine yards. And ditch the outmoded sexual stereotypes: women as well as men are allowed to drive on dates today.

  4. Remember your manners.

    A little consideration goes a long way to making a good impression. You know the basics:

    • Say please and thank you.

    • Don't make any strange noises.

    • Put the seat down.

  5. Be yourself.

    President Calvin Coolidge once invited friends from his hometown to dine at the White House. Worried about their table manners, the guests decided to do everything that Coolidge did. This strategy succeeded, until coffee was served. The president poured his coffee into the saucer. The guests did the same. Coolidge added sugar and cream. His guests did, too. Then Coolidge bent over and put his saucer on the floor for the cat.

    What's the moral of the story? Pick one:

    1. Never have dinner with Calvin Coolidge. (Not a big problem, since he's dead.)

    2. Before you eat, always check the plates for cat hairs.

    3. Order tea, not coffee.

    4. Be yourself.

    The envelope, please. The answer is -- d! You got that one. Now, I'm not advocating that you do what comes naturally, (please, spare us that), but I am saying that you shouldn't pretend to be someone (or something) that you're not. Use your company manners, but stay true to yourself. After all, that's why that beautiful man or woman by your side fell in love with you in the first place.

Next: Page 3 >>

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dealing with In-Laws © 1998 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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