If you’re dating a Russian person, eventually the moment will come when they want you to meet their parents. It’s important to know that family approval is crucial to many Russian people, and the mother’s approval is especially significant. Luckily, there are certain tactics you can use that will maximize the likelihood that your significant other’s mother (or grandmother – equally important!) will take a liking to you. Here is your preparedness guide to impressing that crucial person:
Learn some Russian
Even if your significant other’s mother speaks English, having made the effort to learn how to communicate in her native language will provide you with massive amounts of bonus points. Learn – really learn, memorise and perfect – the very basics, and do your best to remember a little bit more. Trust me, it will be worth the effort:
Hi – Привет (privet)
Hello – Здравствуйте (zdravstuyte)
Bye – Пока (poka)
Good bye – До свидания (do svidaniya)
Yes – Да (da)
No – Нет (nyet)
Please – Пожалуйста (pozhalusta)
Thank you – Спасибо (spasibo)
You’re welcome – Не за что (ne za chto)
As is pretty standard when entering any family home in Russia, it is expected that the visitor will bring flowers for the woman of the house. Luckily, flower stands are everywhere in Russia (many are even open 24 hours a day), so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a place to pick up a small bouquet. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, but it should be nice. Get a shop assistant to put one together for you if you know nothing about flower arrangements.
Be a gentleman
Follow the standard rules of politeness and add as much extra traditional gentlemanliness as you can handle. This means opening doors, pulling out chairs, waiting to eat until everyone has their food. But it also means always carrying as much of the women’s luggage/shopping bags/everything except their purses as you reasonably can, without them having to ask.
Keep in mind
Other than being friendly, polite and sociable, the key to impressing a Russian mother or grandmother is basically to pretend you’ve gone back in time 50 years. As silly as it sounds – and as much as many modern Russian women would refuse it to be true – the more you can play to your traditional gender role, the better you will come across.