The Spice Girls said it best: “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” But how do you introduce your new partner to your friends? And how do you win over their clique?
You know your friends better than anyone, but they’re strangers to the person you love. When your two worlds collide, you need to keep a few things in mind for the sake of your partner. Don’t make the meeting during an overwhelming event. It might be better to keep it to a few friends at a time. Don’t abandon your partner with your friends. That will just make everyone feel awkward. And if your partner looks uncomfortable or if what your friends are doing isn’t really their thing, maybe it’s time to leave early. Stay aware of how everyone is feeling so everything goes as smoothly as possible.
The dynamic of friend groups are surprisingly delicate and often fairly rigid, so when you meet your partner’s friends you need to be aware that you have the power to disrupt the balance and not everyone there will necessarily welcome your presence. This does not mean that the friends will turn on you; everyone gets nervous when they meet new people. They’re going to try to befriend you, at the very least in support of their buddy, so just stay calm and stick to the basics. Make sure to ask them questions and show signs of active listening: Use eye contact, laugh at their jokes and really listen to what they’re saying without spacing out. To make a better impression, especially if drinks are involved in the plans, stay mostly sober: Getting wasted won’t make anything easier for you.
It can be easy to fall back on teasing your date with their friends, but all that’s going to do is create a toxic night for the person you love. Keep the secrets and personal information your partner told you in confidence — do not share those things with their friends. Make sure not to act too lovey-dovey in front of the group: You cannot use nicknames or demonstrate (excessive) PDA in front of them, or at least not on the first hangout session. Furthermore, if your partner has a friend of the gender they’re attracted to, try not to act jealous or get uncomfortable. It’s in your best interest to befriend this friend as well. Remember what happened to Rebecca in “Zoey 101” when she asked Chase to choose between her and Zoey. Don’t hate on your person’s friends and definitely don’t try to end one of their friendships.
As scary as meeting your partner’s friends can seem, it is the best way to ensure a lasting, healthy relationship with your significant other. If you never meet their friends or they never meet yours, it will be easier for either of you to end the relationship. Dating coach Diana Dorell says the best time to meet your partner’s friends is when you both feel ready to become more involved in each other’s lives. This timespan really depends on the nature of your relationship and who you and your partner are as people, so don’t feel pressured or compare timelines with other couples. When you feel ready to meet their friends, you may want to consider sitting down with your partner and explaining how you feel. It’s a big step for both of you, so make sure not to pressure them into doing something that would make them feel uncomfortable. They may be afraid of sharing the more casual, platonic side of them, so make sure to keep that in mind.
In the sacred words of the Spice Girls “friendship never ends,” so make sure to treat your partner’s friends nicely and you’ll be just fine.
If you have any questions or need any dating advice, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m positive other people are facing the same romantic problems as you, and would love to hear an answer.
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.