Tim Phillipps on how to impress your father in law

Impressing the father-in-law can be an excruciatingly difficult task, and so it’s no surprise Daniel Robinson is having a hard time turning Matt’s frown upside-down.

What sort of conversation topic should be discussed with the father-in-law?

I think you should discuss sport, the girl, and just engage in some general chitchat. Make sure you touch on everything that’s going on with them, and with yourself. It’s best just to be open and honest, but lean towards career, family, that sort of thing. Initially it should be all the formal stuff, I suppose that’s the natural starting point.

Is there a particular outing or event that would be perfect for father-in-law bonding?

Sport again! It’s always good to go out and do things that are interactive. I guess it’s also important to have a secondary focus, so it doesn’t feel as awkward, and so you can naturally breathe without feeling like you’re not talking. Anything where you can go a watch something with them…like sport, or an out-of-the-home activity.

What type of clothing or ‘look’ do you think is best when you first meet the father-in-law?

You should definitely appear like you’re making some sort of effort, don’t just rock up in your Sunday casuals. I guess smart-casual is probably the best answer; you want to be looking nice. In saying that, it does depend on the setting, such as if you’re going to watch sport.

What is the worst thing you could say when trying to impress your father-in-law? Or worst thing you could bring up in conversation?

It depends on how well you know the father-in-law before you meet them, but anything someone might strongly believe in, probably best to steer clear of that for now! Also, don’t go into too much detail about your partner, that’s an extremely bad idea. You definitely don’t want to get off on the wrong foot.

Should you ever pretend to like the same things as your father-in-law?

I think it’s okay to a certain extent, as long it’s not getting in the way of what you believe in. If you were chatting about some things you weren’t exactly partial to, but that he’s really into, go for it! However instead of lying maybe let him know it’s something you could be interested in later down the track.

Do you think Daniel has taken the right approach with Matt?

He’s been very good with Matt, it’s in his nature to want to impress. Although at times I would say he can be too eager, and pushing it a little bit too far. I think Matt requires a bit of time to warm to someone who’s dating, and going to marry his daughter; it would be useful if Daniel just shaved off about 10% of the enthusiasm.

Have you ever been in a similar scenario as Daniel, if so, explain how you handled it?

I haven’t really, but I will be soon enough. My girlfriend’s father lives on the east coast of America, so we’ve only really connected through Skype and FaceTime. It will happen in person eventually, and when it does it will be nerve-wracking!

Any other tips or quirky ideas that might help others impress their father-in-law?

It would be really beneficial to spend one-on-one time with them, without the girlfriend. Often you could just lean on the girlfriend to guide the way, and so the only real way of getting to know the father-in-law is with that one-on-one time. A perfect activity for this could be fishing!

What do you think of Tim's advice? What wise words would you offer Daniel Robinson?