My 17 year old son has been dating his girlfriend for a few months now, they were also friends for about a year or so prior.

My issue is that she comes over to our house at least 3 days a week, but never says "hello" to myself or my husband. They walk into the house, then head right to the basement and remain down there for the entire time she is over. Both my husband and I have told him that we feel that it is very rude and disrespectful that she can't say "Hi" to us when she comes over. I don't expect her to come find me in our house, but if I am sitting in the living room or in her view when she walks in the door, I would expect a "Hello" would be common courtesy. I know as a teenager or even as an adult I would have never walked into a friends/boyfriends house with out introducing myself to their parents.

I have tried to make an effort to include her in functions, but they make no effort to interact with us, not even to join us for dinner. My son tells me that we are "old" (I'm in my mid thirties) and that "times have changed, and no-one does that anymore". My husband has tried talking to her about school and her plans after she graduates, which my son told me she felt uncomfortable and that we were grilling her - we were simply trying to make converstation with her.

I honestly feel like telling him that if this continues that she is no longer welcomed over. Are we crazy? have times really changed?

  • 3
    Interesting, well I think it should raise an alarm. She needs to be friendly with you peeps. Just in case. Not saying hi is considered disrespectful in our belief, that aside just talk to her as a mother. You surely want to know more about who your son is dating so organize a day out between you and her if they've been friends for long and also don't forget she comes to your house. If she declines the invite well in my situation I'd talk to my son about her. Better late than never. :) and you're not crazy, I'd do the same. Talk to her. 3 days a week is alot, she should be used to you by now.
    – user22314
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 21:54
  • 3
    Have you ever met her parents? If not, that's where I'd start.
    – Jax
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 20:45
  • 10
    Youg being outdated or not, it is still your home. You invite and uninvite whoever you want to it based on wether it makes you comfortable or not Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 21:17
  • 2
    Thanks for all your responses! I have not met the parents, but my mother in law has when she picked her up once, and said they were very nice people. I'm happy to say that we had some progress over the weekend, she came over and actually said hello to me..I was quite shocked but hoping that maybe my son is understanding where we are coming from and possibly had a chat with her. I'm hoping they will both make an effort to start being more social with us.
    – niagaramom
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 0:08
  • 2
    What country / culture are you in? Is she shy with other people? How is your behaviour to her? (e.g. could she be feeling intimidated by you?)
    – A E
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 12:57

8 Answers 8


She may be shy. I am quite shy and don't always say hi to everyone I see when I walk into someone else's house. It's not that I don't like the family, I simply don't care for people in general and talking to them freaks me out.

However, based on the rest of what you wrote, it sounds like she is being straight rude. I think it would be wise of you to have a chat with her family. Invite her whole family (or her guardian) to your house for dinner, if you are not able to do that - for example, you do not have their contact information. Sit both your son and his girlfriend down and lay down the law. If she is not willing to join in your family's life, then you would prefer she was not in your son's. It will be an unpleasant conversation, and I do hope you try to be as kind and gentle as possible.

I understand that it is touchy because, as I said earlier, teens aren't as sociable as they used to be. At the same time; however, the statement that "nobody does that any more" is VERY wrong! My family has met and had dinner with both of my boyfriends, and that is considered a vital part of a relationship with us.

If you think that your son could be considering eventually marrying her, it is vital that she learns to be at least pleasant and peaceful with your family. It is also important that you meet with her family; because, like it or not one family marries another.

So, to answer the question, disrespectful? Yes. Concerning? Maybe. Common? yes.


Times may have changed, but you are yourself. She is a visitor at your home, which is a privilege that can be taken away, and not a right. She should learn that when you interact with people, it's not just your own opinion that counts, but the other person's opinion as well, and behaviour has consequences. Now you are not her mother and don't have to teach her that (although you are your son's mother and should teach him), but there are no reasons why you should accept what you perceive as rude.

I think you should talk to your son again. If his argument is "times have changed", you just say "I think it is rude, and that's a fact. It doesn't matter whether you say times have changed, I think it's rude, and what I think is what matters to me. And I don't accept what I think is rude in my home. So tell her, and she either changes her behaviour, or you meet somewhere else".

It's not as if you are causing any hardship to the young couple. Instead you show them a reality of life: That if you annoy people, they will annoy you back, and that if you are polite, things will go a lot smoother for you. If not saying "Hello" is caused by shyness, then doing it when asked to do it is the easiest way to overcome the shyness. If not saying "Hello" is caused by disinterest or rudeness, then it is good to learn that sometimes you need to do things that you are not interested in, or that sometimes you can't be rude, in order to get what you want.

(And practicing to act as if you were polite even though you don't want to has the effect that eventually you become more polite).

  • Good point stressing on 'teach to the boy'
    – Paolo
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 13:42
  • Couldn't agree more. When I talked to my daughter about swearing, I told her that around me it was fine, but in certain groups they would be offended and not want to talk to her -- when in Rome! Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 1:17

My guess would be that she isn't trying to be rude.

It's perfectly understandable for anyone to feel uncomfortable or intimidated by their peers parents especially if they are being judged by those parents ( which you are.)

If you are sincerely concerned with developing a relationship with her, and thereby strengthening your relationship with son your focus will need be on what actions you can take to make her more comfortable around you prior to getting to know her better. This can only be achieved with continuous and sincere efforts. Trying to start a conversation and patting yourself on the back and judging her to be rude is not going to help and will invariably lead to damaging the relationship with your son.

If you are finding this difficult it may be because you have a need for validation which you are seeking from her. It can be very effective to explore those needs with a professional.

  • 2
    You did not provide even one example of what actions should be taken (above and beyond what the OP has tried) to make her more comfortable or what you would consider "continuous and sincere efforts." I think most people would consider striking up a conversation about her interests and college plans to be a sincere effort. Let's not forget that this girl is a guest in this person's home. Not even saying hello to someone upon entering their home IS rude. She obviously isn't that intimidated by the parents either, or else she wouldn't be by 3X/week...
    – Jax
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 23:45
  • 1
    "may be because you have a need for validation which you are seeking from her" - I think that's rather jumping to conclusions. I see nothing in OP's post to indicate they have a "need for validation".
    – sleske
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 9:01
  • @Jax it's very possible that the op need not think of new actions to take because those action are welcoming already. My answer addressed sincerity and continuity.
    – user24003
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 20:23
  • @sleske certainly when someone says "if" and "may be because" we wouldn't consider that jumping to conclusions.
    – user24003
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 20:39
  • @sleske there are several things that could indicate that. Especially when combined with the difficulties described in my answer. possibly not conclusively.
    – user24003
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 20:41

Yes, it is disrespectful. They are teenagers .. it happens.

You should call them on it. When they come over, and you see them walk in, cheerfully say hi, and perhaps offer something to eat or drink. If she says hi back, great. If she doesn't, you have every right to follow them downstairs and explain to your son that you do not appreciate being ignored and that you take it as disrespectful.

You could also call her out directly, but I don't see the point as she is not your child.

If the disrespect continues, it is perfectly reasonable to tell him that she is not welcome in your home if she is unwilling to treat his parents with respect.

I would also not allow the skipping dinner, at least by your son. He does not get to not be a member of your family because she it over. She is of course welcome to join you.

As an aside -- my real concern would be about what is going on in the basement. I have a 24 year old daughter .. when she was in high school we had strict rules about boys in the house.

  • We had to know they arrived and when they left - no sneaking around.
  • They were never to be behind closed doors alone. Ever.
  • No visitors of the opposite sex when we (parents) were not home.
  • No visiting the homes of young men without parental presence.

You should be going down there frequently, offering them drinks or snacks, asking if they need anything, inviting her for dinner, and so forth.

Good luck.

  • 1
    You can go and make a nuisance of yourself by checking them all the time or you can ask them whether they use birth control and warn them that you will not be available as a child carer to your teenaged son's kid.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 14:07

I'm guessing this girl acts this way not intentionally per se, but out of insecurity. Also, if she's accustomed to not socializing well, she may have no idea how or when to initiate, or may be afraid of how that encounter could develop. That's coming from someone who has been on both ides of the coin, I was once a very insecure kid and am lately the father of a teenage boy. It's a fact that insecurity is often interpreted rudeness or being "stuck up", very often that person has no idea and would actually prefer to be well-liked.

Of course you should not let this pass. You son already knows your feelings on the topic, so no need to talk to him anymore about it just now. My advice is, next time she come over, greet her as friendly as you can manage. Unless she is no longer welcome in your home, try to convey that she is welcome as your son's guest. You might get lucky the first time around, she may respond or even pause to chat a bit. Also when she leaves same should apply. Whatever happens, don't give up, just rinse and repeat. I advise that you try to engage your son in these interactions, he should become more comfortable and that should have a positive effect for her as well. Once you have made some initial contact, talk to your son a bit, tell him you know there must be something he likes about her, and you and your SO would like to get to know the girlfriend a little better so that you understand that too (or however you would like to put it). It's just like when he was 10 years old you no doubt wanted to know who he was running around with then, too. I would say that it is of paramount importance that you develop some sort of relationship with her, maybe even friendship. This might be your son's first "serious" relationship, and what happens here will set the foundation for ones in the future. I imagine he wants to make his own decisions here, but may very well want a little guidance in new and possibly treacherous waters.
Make him aware that whatever happens here, you have always got his back e.g if he finds here to be scary and manipulative (once again, personal experience), and also, of course, he has a responsibility to her and himself to be responsible. wink wink, nudge nudge.


My 17 year-old daughter's boyfriend is the son of someone I've worked with for years. He's a great kid, a talented athlete, and in the top 10% of his senior class, but he's painfully shy and socially awkward. My daughter is as well, but to a far lesser degree. We've let him become comfortable with us at his own pace, and he has.

Assume the best of her, give her some space.


I'm hearing "nobody does that anymore" as a projection. Maybe he's quoting her. It may be that her family doesn't act in this way, nor is it safe for her to try. And her family being "nice" doesn't mean there's not a storm behind their closed doors that no one suspects. If everyone thinks her family is "nice" when it's only a social veneer, this would make it even harder for her. Are her parents on social media? Learn about their interests and politics.

That she is at your home this much makes me think your home feels safer to her than her own does. Imagine it's ten years later, and she and your son are still friends. She confesses to you that she really admired you and your family, but was afraid to tell you. How would that knowledge change your choices today?

Can you truthfully say to your son, "When I have guests over, I expect them to greet you and be social with you? And I'd be unhappy if they ignored you?" We humans love to be told the truth and treated as equals. It makes us act the same way.

I saw your update and glad things are thawing for you! When she comes in, keep the initial conversation light- "What a cute top!" can lead to a nice conversation. What if you treat these meetings like a water-cooler convo you'd have at work with a new colleague?

What's something you sincerely like about her? Even if it's just her taste in young men. Share that with your son and he'll hear it. You want to invite her to engage with you socially, not have her feel as if it's a house muster drill.

Could you say to her "We really love having all the family who are home to come eat dinner together. Can you join us this__ Day? You can bring something for dessert if you like."

If they're coming in at the same time every day, taking cookies that smell of cinnamon and nutmeg out of the oven is going to be a strong lure. It will reinforce her brain signaling to her that she is safe here. Besides, don't you deserve a cookie after all this? :)


Definitely disrespectful, there is never a horrible consequence for saying "Hi" It does not mean that a conversation has to follow , it is polite and manners and if she wasn't taught manners and how to be polite....I am not interested. Manners, respect and some social interaction is required of everyone...if she had a child would she teach her child manners ? Would she walk away without saying Hi to a customer if she was a retail clerk ? What would you think if you were the customer of a store and you look for help, you see an employee and say hi, they don't answer and walk away ? yeah. DISRESPECTFUL and shy is an excuse but not true because it is rude.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .