The beginning stages of a partnership can be challenging, especially when introducing your new partner to your circle of friends.
A conversation with friends can be torture when you hear from them that they aren’t too fond of your new beau. What to do? Do you end the relationship because longtime friends don’t approve? Or do you stick to your guns and continue to grow the relationship, despite the fact that your best friend can’t stand being around the two of you?
There are a number of things to consider when deciding how much your friends’ opinion matters when dating someone new.
While your friends don’t see the more intimate side of your relationship and subsequently will have little sense of the physical chemistry you and your new boy/girlfriend have, love can also be blind and they may see things you can’t see. While a physical connection is important, if that’s the basis for the whole relationship, that’s not much to build on. The whole package is important for long-term success.
If your friends have reservations, make sure you’ve offered them the courtesy of hearing them out. It could be that they’re just jealous — even subconsciously — of the time you’re spending with your new boy- or girlfriend that used to be spent with them, but don’t just assume that’s the case.
Your closest friends should be supportive of your relationship goals. True friends love you and want you to be happy. If your friends are genuine in these feelings, they should give your partner a chance and truly get to know her/him before passing judgment. Introducing your new partner in a more intimate setting will ease conversation. Group events, even large dinner parties, as a first meeting can be intimidating to even the most self-confident people. And as much as alcohol can be a fantastic social lubricant sometimes, excessive drinking or partying with your friends and partner as a first time meeting can end in disaster. Lunch, coffee or a small dinner party are the best settings to introduce your partner to your buddies.
Another thing to remember before your worlds collide is to make sure to prep both sides. Tell your friends not to bring up the time in college when you streaked the quad as a dare for a free slice of pizza. Tell your partner not to only have “small chat” with you, talking only about inside jokes. Both sides could see this as competing for attention or your love and it will only go downhill from there.
It’s also wise to clue in your friends about your new love interest’s personality and vice versa. If your new partner is somewhat introverted, for example, tell your friends not to be put off if he or she seems quiet over brunch. If your social group is partially comprised of exes, avoid introducing them right away.
One more thing to consider: Did your friends love your ex and were they more devastated than you when you broke up? If this is the case, realize that your friends might compare your new partner to your past, but don’t let this hold you back from exploring a new, loving relationship. On the other hand, if you are one to jump from relationship to relationship, your buddies might not be willing to give your new partner the time of day, so hold off on introducing them to each other until you feel committed and/or exclusive.
You should value what your friends have to say about your partner and consider what steps to take to ensure a smooth introduction. But in the end, you’re the one in the relationship, not them.
MEGHANN NOVINSKIE and KIM ROSENBERG can be reached at 888-739-2649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.