Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Should I Come Bearing Gifts?

Dear Date the District,

I’m seeing this guy, and he wants me to meet his mom. We’re going out to dinner next week, and his younger brother is coming along. In the past, I’ve always met the bf’s parents at their houses, and I’ll bring wine or dessert or something. Should I bring anything to the restaurant? And, if so, what should I bring for the brother?

If you’re eating a meal at someone else’s house, you should always bring a gift—regardless of whether or not you’re sleeping with someone at the table.

But these gifts should be more edible and less specific, like the bottle of wine/dessert. If you show up with gifts for Mom and Little Joey, and, unbeknownst to you (and possibly even the bf), Grandma decides to come along, you won’t have anything to give her (which will just make your situation worse).

But when you’re going to a restaurant, you can’t really bring a hostess gift (unless it’s BYOB, which we kind of doubt will be the case for you).

Yes, it makes you feel less awkward when you can show up and hand the person you’re trying to impress a trinket of your affection. And it certainly makes for a favorable first impression.

But you can’t really bring a neutral, please-like-me present to a restaurant, and the family certainly won’t be expecting one.

In fact, a gift might make you look like too much of a kiss-ass, and no one wants to feel like her approval can be bought.

Our advice? Show up empty-handed, and let your personality win them over. When you ask people questions about themselves and really listen to what they say/follow up with more questions, they’ll be just as charmed as they would be if you showed up with a $30 bottle of wine.

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