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Handle This: His Mom Is Too Formal

Prior to meeting his parents, your boyfriend’s been keen on telling you just how well he thinks you’ll get along with them. But when the actual meet and greet happens, your high expectations are no more.

When you introduce yourself to his mom, she’s quick to let you know that she’ll only allow you to call her by her surname and that she’s an absolute stickler for manners; she's also more than happy to point out when you’re not following her rules. Your boyfriend's brother's girlfriend calls her by her first name, which makes it clear that this is personal, so how would you handle this?


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JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
She probably doesn't want you to call her by her first name right away but you'll probably be able to when you're with her son for longer. That is what I'd say. I wouldn't let it bother you too much at least not now. At least she tells you what she wants and expects from you instead of being pissed for something you didn't even know you were supposed to do like my MIL.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
personally i would just do what the mom prefers for now and hope that she warms up to me. you never know what the initial response as for the brother's girlfriend and maybe it was similar. remember that your boyfriend is probably always going to take his mom's side so for now - mrs so and so should be what you call her and hopefully soon enough you'll get the casual vibe from her and you'll be able to switch over.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
take this as a blessing. this could mean that his mom is quite distant which means she won't meddle in your relationship. trust's easier than the opposite. esp if she's busting into your apt to bring you cherries and walking in on a floor sex session. be graceful and don't ever roll your eyes...they look for that.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Who cares! She'd automatically be banned from my home anyway.
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
"You do as she says, and thank her when she points out a flaw." I find that the people who are most vocal about pointing out others' flaws are very rarely correct about what actually is a flaw. So I would be loath to thank someone for "correcting" me on something that is not in fact incorrect. Good manners are about making others feel comfortable. People who revel in pointing out flaws and making others feel uncomfortable are the height of bad manners.
onesong onesong 8 years
You do as she says, and thank her when she points out a flaw. You don't get to decide, ever, if someone is being "too formal." It's up to them what you may call them, and for all you know his brother's girlfriend had to call her Mrs. So-and-so the first time you met her, too. Grow up and handle it, and be happy that someone is pointing out sloppy manners to you since you obviously weren't taught any!
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
Mykie: "If you can't get along with his Mom there's no basis for a solid relationship, and why make it harder as time goes on?" If everyone thought this way I would never have gotten married! My mom is just not a warm person and she has never been very welcoming to my husband. It threw him for a loop because his own mom is very welcoming and is not formal at all. Thankfully, he realized he was marrying me and not my mom. I'm a bit more formal myself, so it wouldn't bother me to call a potential MIL "Mrs. Smith" for a while. But to be told right up front "you must call me Mrs. Smith" would be a little harsh. It's like she expects you to fail. (And as someone said, pointing out others' mistakes is rudeness itself!) I'd kill her with kindness (and with manners). Get a Miss Manners book and do everything she says, without fail. Bring hostess gifts, write thank-you notes, call her Your Ladyship Madame Smith of the Manor if she wants you to. If she's just a nasty person it will drive her nuts that she can't find fault with you; if she's just formal you'll earn points for following the rules and she may warm to you. If it doesn't work and she's still nasty, then your boyfriend may have to step in and tell his mom to calm down.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 8 years
I don't really care, I think you should call people the way they want to be call, and not to take it personally.
vmruby vmruby 8 years
I would suck it up because I'd care enough about my boyfriend to respect her wishes to be called by her surname.If that's what she wants then thats what she'll get. On the other hand, I'd have a major issue with her throwing the manners and rules thing at me since it's our first meeting and she really doesn't know how I am.It would signify that she has already pre-judged without any reason, not to mention insulting me by reminding me of my manners as if I were a child.That's a huge turnoff. I'd actually be a bit offended by her rudeness and it would make me not want to go to her home very often.
LilyLyra LilyLyra 8 years
Ugh I would hate that and would probably get into fights about it with my boyfriend, even though I wouldn't mean to. But that's what happens. But I'm sooooo glad that my mother in law is so sweet and very cool and doesn't ask about anything going on with me and my fiance unless we tell her.
gemsera gemsera 8 years
I think its rude not to call them by their full name, unless they have specifically asked you not to. They are your elders and even more so deserving of your respect as they are the parents of the man you love. And no one would comment on my manners, they are impeccable in front of new family and friends, and even seasoned ones. I went to three deportment classes to learn that :)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
bellasugar I always love your comments and this one is no exception. Personally, I think I would move right into calling her "mom" and smirking at her a little bit every time I said it.
julieulie julieulie 8 years
I agree with what's been said -- I don't see a problem with it -- aside perhaps from pointing out that I don't follow the rules, just because that would be terribly embarassing for me, because I try so hard to make a good first impression and I would be angry with myself if I didn't. But if she let someone else call her by her first name and not me, I would presume it would be because the other girlfriend had just been around longer, and I was just meeting her for the first time. Isn't that natural progression? My MIL always insisted that I call her by her first name, but my husband called my parents "Mr & Mrs LastName" the first few times he met them.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 8 years
Maybe it's because I'm from the south, but I would never, under any circumstance greet someone older than I am, someone in a position of authority, or someone's parents by anything other than their last name, unless asked to do so. Even then, I don't know if I would feel comfortable doing so. However, I do think it is in bad taste that she would point out someone else's manners.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I would be fine with it. I've always addressed my boyfriends' and friends' parents as Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so. Besides, you two just met, and have a casual acquaintanceship. Referring to her by her surname is appropriate, in my opinion. Also, earning respect goes both ways. Of course, it would be nice if she ended up liking me. But it's important that I like her, too, especially if this is a serious relationship (i.e. may lead to marriage). If her son wants to marry me, I'm going to have considerable personal power over him, so she better makes sure she's on MY good side as well. She's not going to be the only matriarch in the family. ;) :)
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I don't think I would care, I'm not super close to my parents so I definitely understand formality in a family setting. I'd be respectful of whatever she wanted unless it impinged on my relationship.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
It would make me uncomfortable, but I wouldn't have a problem with it. You're dating the son, not the mother.
lanamia lanamia 8 years
Does the mom have a reason to think you're rude or that you need to be reminded of the proper way to act? Have a talk with your man to find out if this is how she's been with his past flames. Gauge whether or not he's supporting his mother's behavior towards you. If he is or doesn't care then you have your answer. But you know there are some women who are just difficult towards other women trying to date men in their family just to weed out the weak ones. You might just have to earn her respect.
BryPouncy BryPouncy 8 years
It wouldn't bother me in the least because it would be in order to gain her respect. I called my husbands mom Mrs "B_____" until she told me to call her Dahlia and then mom. Always respect your elders, even if they point out your flaws. If you respect them the way they want, they will respect you and be more lax.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
Deal with it until you both get to know each other, she is your elder and it's just polite to respect her. If she starts meddling in your relationship that would be a different story . . Also I think relationships can work out even if all parents and significant others don't get along- my mother drives my fiance (and most ppl in my family) crazy but he just smiles, takes 10 deep breaths, and doesn't make a huge deal out of her craziness. It hasn't caused any problems in our relationship.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
mykie you think that if a woman doesnt get along with her boyfriend's mother then the relationship is doomed? You know there's a reason for the stereotypical Mother-in-Law, right? I would be polite and earn her respect. Obviously thats what she's looking for.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Gotta agree with the other posters. If he is close to his mother, speaking to her OR him about it might cause problems. So, if you can deal with it for the time being just keep your mouth shut. BUT, if she continues with this "cold shoulder" and you have done nothing to warrant it, you either need to say something or get out of the relationship. If you can't get along with his Mom there's no basis for a solid relationship, and why make it harder as time goes on?
cubadog cubadog 8 years
I do not think it is that big of deal. She doesn't know you so she is not comfortable with you calling her by her first name.
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 8 years
I would probably be a little peeved, but I would keep it to myself. Like blue star said, just grin and bare it!.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I'd be irritated, but I'd just address her however she wants to be addressed and all that for the sake of peace. This does, however, make me so happy that my future MIL is one of the coolest women in the world. She's seriously at least in the top five.
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