Gone on a few dates? Feel the spark of something good potentially happening? Test number one is for your beau to meet your friends. Here are some tips on how to do it without putting him/her on the spot… unless that’s what you want to do.
How Long Do You Wait?
The jury’s out on this one. Some people use their friends as a litmus test to see if they should continue dating the person in question, while others only introduce the beau to their friends if they believe there’s a chance that they might be the ‘one.’ Whichever boat you’re in, there are some ground rules that you should follow. There are two ways you can go about introducing your new flame to your friends. The method you choose says a fair bit about your personality, but there’s no right or wrong way to do it. There’s the stealth approach and then there’s the cluster attack.
The Stealth Approach
The stealth approach entails a measured easing into your life by every now and then casually ‘bumping into’ friends while you’re out. Let one or two of your pals know that you’ll be at a certain place at a certain time, and if they want to, they can come out and say hello. The skinny on your squeeze will gradually spread among your friends and before you know it, he or she will be on the inside.
The Cluster Attack
Break out the spotlight and the magnifying glass and arrange a get-together so most of your friends can meet your new flame at the same time. This is an intense way to get it all over with in one swoop. Your date has to know what to expect. If they’re up to it they can shine and be an instant hit, but if they’re too shy or unassuming, they might not be able to handle the heat. Whichever approach you choose, do yourself a favor and let your date know about it beforehand. It’s only fair.
Prepare the Victim
Let him or her know about your friends so they know what to expect. Let them know that friend X is your best pal and is the main person to impress, friend Y has never had a good relationship in their life and will be immediately distrustful of anyone who might hint at happiness for you, and friend Z works in the same business so they have something in common. You also might want to arrange a time-out so you can re-assure your date and check in to see that everything is okay. Washroom visits work well for this, but don’t be away for too long because your friends are probably talking about you while you’re gone.
These Tables Can Turn
Your partner isn’t the only one who is being, for lack of a better term, judged. Your friends, and by extension, you, are being examined too. If all your chums are rude, whiney, or belligerent, then your partner might think that you share those qualities with them. Of course, I’m sure this doesn’t apply to you… your friends are probably all super nice people.
After all is said and done, see what everyone has to say–including your partner–you can judge for yourself if it all went well. Do your friends see any red flags about your date that you might have missed? Does your partner have anything really negative to say about your friends? Remember, they’re up for evaluation as well.
But… Do Your Friends’ Opinions Really Matter?
When you get down to it, will you really be listening to your friends that much? My experience has been that we go out with people because there’s something about them (good or bad) that makes us want to be with them. Getting your friends to weigh in with an opinion can help, but it usually won’t make a huge difference in your feelings for the person in question. So, listen to what they have to say, but remember that we make (and learn from) our own mistakes.
Above all else, remember to take your date’s feelings into consideration and make it all as painless as possible. Why? Because you’re going to have to go through the same thing with his/her friends, too.