You know that a relationship is real when your significant other invites you to meet their parents. Unfortunately, that little rite of passage doesn’t always go so well—if the stress gets to you, you’re likely to say or do something embarrassing. Someone should really make a movie about that.
The good news: Even when everything goes horribly, there’s someone out there who has a worse “meet the parents” story than you. We collected a few of the best ones we could find, then edited them slightly for readability and clarity. Try to make your way through these tales of utter awkwardness without cringing.
1. When you’re trying to impress the family, you really want to knock them out.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
“I met my girlfriend’s parents at their summer house the summer after my sophomore year in college,” explained Reddit user extracreddit1. “Though their daughter spoke highly of me, I was intimidated by their strict demeanor.”
“They arrived at the house late at night with my girlfriend’s sister and brother, and because it was late, I introduced myself to them, and everyone went to sleep. I shared a room with my girlfriend’s younger brother.”
“Around 2 a.m., I began sleepwalking over to her brother’s bed. The brother’s room was laid out similar to my room at home, so I thought I was in my bedroom. I panicked when I felt someone’s warm face in the other bed.”
“I could not find the light switch, so I began to attack the ‘intruder’ while screaming and swearing at him. I punched her brother in the face multiple times, even as he begged me to stop. Note: I had never thrown a punch before.”
“Her parents rushed into the bedroom, fully dressed, with their Great Dane on his leash, barking and lunging aggressively. When the lights turned on, her parents saw me in my boxers with my fists raised over their son. Her brother and I laid wide awake, silently, for the rest of the night.”
Oddly enough, that’s not the only sucker-punching-while-sleepwalking story we found.
“The first time I met my now-fiance’s mom and stepdad, I also was staying at their house,” wrote curvy_lady_92. “We had been together for a while by this point.”
“Well, his parents didn’t want us sleeping together, so I slept in the guest bed, and he in his. The next morning, he decided to be oh-so-cute and romantic and wake me up with a kiss, right?”
“I am an anxious sleeper. He kissed me. I punched him in the face. His mom still laughs her a** off when she tells the story.”
2. That first dinner with the parents is always awkward.
It’s especially uncomfortable if the parents are totally psychotic about mashed-potato etiquette.
“Years ago I was at my ex’s for dinner for the first time, and found out that her parents are both incredibly weird,” wrote GodTheory. “When I eat potatoes I like to mash them with a fork and then mix in melting butter. When I tried doing this at the table, her dad noticed what I was doing, got up from his seat, turned his back on me and literally shouted, ‘That isn’t how you eat potatoes!‘”
“Obviously, I didn’t have a clue how to react. I didn’t know whether he was being serious or if it was just his sense of humor, so I looked at his wife for reassurance. She gave me that teacher look that they pull when you do something wrong.”
“She got up from her seat, took both my hands in hers—with the knife and fork in them—and cut the remaining two potatoes into quarters. Her dad sat down again, and we finished the meal in silence with him closely watching how I ate everything.”
At that point, we’d probably just invite the dad to go dancing. After all, he’s already seen you mash potatoes; he might as well watch you do the twist.
3. Road rage never makes a great impression.
“I was running late to meet her family for the first time, and only a few miles from my destination, the car ahead of me was creeping along at 35 mph in a 45 mph zone,” redditor professor-doom recounted. “I’m impatient, so I rode them pretty hard. They slowed down even more to spite me, so when I finally had a chance to pass them, I got a good look at the stink faces looking back at me as I sailed by. I wanted to see what these [jerks] looked like! Turns out, they looked exactly like my girlfriend’s parents. I pulled into her house and a minute later, they did too.”
“After exchanging icy pleasantries, I explained how I had been running late and nervous and excited to meet them, and that I don’t normally drive like that. Fortunately, they seemed to believe me and let it go.”
“I went on to date my girlfriend for many years afterward, and the only evidence that it ever happened was her father good-naturedly calling me ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ from time to time. Oh, and he never let me drive when we went out together.”
In the kid’s defense, he was just trying to drive the speed limit. Still, it’s a good reminder: If you’re going to give in to road rage, be prepared to face the people you’re raging against.
4. This story makes us slightly angry.
“I wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend in high school, but I decided to get one anyway,” wrote one Reddit user (who has since deleted his account). “She was a real cute Italian girl whose dad was way into classic cars. I ended up sneaking over to her house for dinner to finally meet her parents, but I hadn’t told my parents that I was leaving.”
“Everything was going great. Her dad and I were getting along great, and dinner was amazing! We sat down to watch a movie and all of the a sudden, someone barges in the front door.”
“My parents, being the sleuthy devils they were, started calling around my friends asking where I was after they realized I wasn’t in the house. Eventually, they managed to call my buddy—we’ll call him Austin—and he, being a good friend, said that I was at his house. Now, Austin lives right next to this girl—we’ll call her Jenny—and so I was actually parked at his house anyways.”
“My parents were livid, so they drove to Austin’s house and asked where I was. Austin’s mom answered the door and cheerfully said, ‘Oh, he’s over at Jenny’s across the street!'”
“At this point, my dad, furious with me, walks across the road and barges in the door. He looks me square in the eye and says, ‘Let’s go Mike. Now.’ I don’t talk to Jenny or her family anymore.”
We don’t like judging parents, but trying to stop a high-school kid from dating seems pretty futile. For all they know, those parents just raged their way out of a lifetime of free home-cooked Italian dinners.
5. This story raises more questions than it answers.
“I was off to pick up a new girlfriend in high school one day,” wrote user bigollurch. “She was super late, so I just chilled at her house.”
That’s when he saw a pile of wood and an axe in his girlfriend’s backyard. Naturally, he decided to start splitting it.
“Hey, look, wood to split!” he recalled thinking. “Yay!”
“So I’m chopping away on the side of the house, where I can’t see the driveway. I never heard her and her dad come home. I get a text: ‘We’re here, where are you?’ I go to knock on the door, and the dad opens it to see me on the threshold, sweaty, breathing hard and holding an axe.”
“He stopped, stepped back, and we stared at each other for about five seconds. I panicked and dropped the axe, trying to say, ‘Oh, hey, just trying to help,’ but I dropped it right on my foot, so it turned into, ‘Oh, hey, ow, s***!’ I’m no smoother today.”
If we were the girl’s father, we wouldn’t have minded the profanity, but we’d be extremely confused as to why our daughter’s new boyfriend decided to start chopping our wood for no apparent reason. In the guy’s defense, chopping wood is pretty fun.
6. This story works better if you read it in a British accent.
Reddit user butwhatsmyname met his girlfriend’s parents, and it didn’t go so well. He was starting to feel bad—and then she told him how her brother, James, had a much worse “meet-the-parents” experience.
“James had brought his first girlfriend over to meet the parents,” he explained. “Everyone was very nervous. It was the first time the parents had met a girlfriend, and they had hoovered and got out the best china for tea and cakes.”
Yes, this is an extremely British story. “Hoovering,” by the way, is what Americans call “vacuuming.”
“A lot of effort had gone into the preparation, and they had shooed the (evil and semi-feral) cat out of the house and generally made things pretty. They were halfway through tea and cakes, and polite chit-chat was had. It was all going swimmingly with everyone was being on their best behavior. It all looked like it was going to be lovely.”
“And then James’ girlfriend said ‘What’s that under the TV?’ All heads turned toward the TV stand—under it was half of a dismembered pheasant.”
“Unfortunately, in their frantic cleaning efforts, nobody had noticed that the cat had dragged a pheasant corpse into the house and proudly left it under the TV stand. The cat, at this point, was nowhere to be seen, and James’ mother apparently made a world-beating attempt to pass off the storage of half-dead game fowl in the living room as a perfectly normal thing that nobody should be worried about.”
“I gather that James’ girlfriend did not come back for tea again.”
7. When you’re not really prepared to meet your girlfriend’s parents, weird stuff can happen.
This story comes from Reddit user Dogismycopilot89.
“This girl I had been seeing invites me over to her place to stay the weekend. She tells me Sunday night she has to get up for work around 5:30 a.m. and leave by 6 a.m. She tells me, ‘My dad is going to be home at around 8 a.m., you should leave before then.’ Mind you, my car is in the garage.”
“7:42 rolls around; I hear the door to the room open and the light click on. I hear: ‘Who are you?’ My heart felt like it had exploded in my chest. I casually sat up, and explained that I was a friend of his daughter.”
“‘How long have you known her?'”
“‘Oh, about two weeks.’ I should not have said that. I should not have said that.”
“It was early in the morning, I was incoherent, and I was scared s***less. When he left the room, he looked extremely disapproving. I got up, put my pants on—luckily I was wearing a shirt—and went to go feed the rabbits. Yes, she has two rabbits, which I agreed to feed before I left.”
“So I casually walked past the dad to the refrigerator to get the veggies out to feed the rabbits. All the while, he is grilling me about who I am, what I do, where I go to school, and what my parents do. I notice he doesn’t make eye contact with me but stares at the ground the whole time.”
“I’m thinking, ‘Man, I really pissed this guy off. I need to get out.’ I bolt down the stairs to the garage with dad following. I get to the garage, go to put my shoes on….and I see them. The purple-striped fluffy knee socks.”
He’d borrowed them from his girlfriend the night before, and he’d forgotten that he was wearing them. Wanting nothing more than to get out of the immediate area, Dogismycopilot89 jumped into his car and tried to start it…and, yes, you probably know what happened next.
“The car won’t start. I pray to Odin to get out of this mess. I try again, one final time, as the battery slowly drains. It roars to life. I slam it in reverse and mash the pedal. It nearly chokes out and dies. I put it in drive and head for the highway.”
8. If things don’t go well, you can always plan for an early exit.
Just try not to bring other people in on your plan.
My boyfriend Jeff dropped by on Christmas Day to give me a present,” wrote Reddit user flibberdigibbit. “He had brought his 5-year-old little sister Kimmie with him. My entire extended family was all gathered around, sizing him up, when his little sister started tugging on his arm and saying over and over, ‘Jeeeeefffff! Can we go now?'”
He acted annoyed and said, ‘In a little bit, Kimmie.’ But she persisted.
“He kept saying, ‘In just a minute, honey.’ Finally, I guess she couldn’t help herself—in exasperation, ‘Jeff! Remember in your car, before we came up here, you told me to beg!‘”
Basically, Jeff had told Kimmie to give him an excuse to leave. That’s why you don’t trust kids with a secret.
“You could have heard a pin drop,” flibberdigibbit wrote. “His face was bright red as he said a feeble, awkward goodbye and shuffled off. Everyone in the room didn’t know what to say or where to look.”
9. If you’re currently dreading a “meet-the-parents” moment, this story should help.
It’s awkward, yes, but it’s also pretty heartwarming.
“I met the entirety of my boyfriend’s family without him, about a month after we started dating,” writes thatonegirlyaknow.
“He was in Atlanta for health reasons, so I decided I would go up and visit whenever I could. I wanted to just book a hotel, but his mom insisted I just stay with her at her sister and brother-in-law’s house.”
“It wasn’t a big deal, aside from the fact that I have horrible social anxiety and I’d never traveled alone before or stayed anywhere without my parents. I met his aunt, uncle, mother, father, and cousin in Atlanta and nearly had a panic attack.”
“They kept paying for things for me—they took me to historical societies, museums, dinners, lunches, pedicures. I was floored because I’m not entirely well off in comparison, and I feel just terrible being spoiled by the family of a boy I’d only just started dating. And they kept asking me questions, and never let me sleep in past 6 a.m., for some reason.”
“On the way home, I drove with his mom instead of flying. She took me to a peach orchard and kept telling me that she was so happy to have me in his life because I was the most stable thing so far, and I was all he talked about. The same day, she decided to stop at her parents’ house.”
“So I met his other aunt, his sister, his brother, and his grandparents. Meeting your boyfriend’s family without your boyfriend is a very horrifying experience when you’re a socially anxious poor girl, basically.”
We can understand her anxiety, but when your worst meet-the-parents story involves a stroll through a beautiful peach orchard, be sure to count your blessings.