You’ve met someone. You like each other. You’ve talked about everyone in your respective crowds. Now it’s time to go from sharing who they are and what they mean to you, to actually showing them how you feel by introducing them to your friends.
When your relationship is ready to move to this next level, it means you’re both serious and feel like the relationship has real potential. But meeting the friends and family of your significant other can be complicated if it isn’t handled with care and attention. It’s normal for your mind to race and for you to wonder how you should introduce them.
A good idea is to set a time and place, so everyone knows what to expect. Make sure you pick something fun and easy because introducing your significant other to your friends is important but you don’t want to make it too formal and put too much pressure on anyone.
To make sure everything goes great, here are the do’s and don’ts of introducing the person you’re dating to your friends:
1. Don´t make it a surprise.
I always remind people that introducing their significant other to their friends is something that needs to be planned in advance. You don’t want to throw your significant other into a surprise introduction, because it may throw everyone involved completely off guard and result in unwanted nervousness and awkwardness. Make sure the timing is right for the two of you as well as your friends and family. If people feel rushed or imposed upon, that isn’t the right time to meet someone who has become important in your life.
2. Do coordinate with your significant other.
Don’t plan the introduction on your own. Caring about someone means connecting together on important matters. It isn’t enough that you’re ready to introduce them to your inner circle, your partner has to feel ready for it too. Keep in mind that their timeline around getting more involved with your intimate friends may be slightly different than yours. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to make sure both of you are on the same page about the next step in your relationship.
3. Don’t decide on the time and place alone.
Just as important as when you set up these introductions is how it will happen. Your significant other may be shy or wonderfully bubbly, and where and how they like to meet people may be different depending on their personality. For instance, for some people, meeting a large gathering of strangers can be intimidating and for others, a one-on-one meeting brings a lot of pressure. So talk about the who, when, and how with your partner first. It will make things a lot easier for them.
4. Do choose an open, casual place to meet.
Once you’re both on the same page about the introduction, it’s time to choose the right place for everybody to meet. My general recommendation here is to choose a place with a casual, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. You could have lunch together or go for a fun group activity like a local carnival or open-air market. The key here is to be in a setting that is low pressure and can foster casual conversation. We don’t want to go too intense on a first meeting like a high-end restaurant or too distracting like concert where nobody can talk to each other. Depending on your interests and hobbies, consider going bowling, a movie, or just a casual lunch or dinner.
5. Don’t leave them alone.
Remember to watch your significant other and offer support like saving them from a pushy relative or a brooding buddy who needs a shoulder to cry on. While you don’t want to watch them like a hawk, it’s best to be close by so you know they’re comfortable during this first meeting. You definitely don’t want to leave them with a bunch of strangers and head off to interact with others, at least not the first time. Standing nearby, asking them if they need anything, or checking in to see if they’d like to leave, are all ways of showing them that you are there for them and care about their experience.
6. Do pay attention to the personality of the crowd.
One big event where your significant other meets all your friends all at once may not be the way you want to go. That may be your style, but if it’s not, getting together with small groups, or with a few couples or individuals over several weekends, may be better. Think about who’s important to you and how you’d like them to meet your new partner for the first time. It’s different for everyone.
And, remember, this is way more scary for them than it is for you—but it doesn’t have to be! This should be a happy, fun, and exciting time. Taking a few steps to plan ahead and make sure you and your partner are on the same page can go a long way.
Sami Wunder is a leading international dating, love, and relationship expert whose work has led to 111 proposals/engagements and hundreds of revitalized relationships across the globe. Called the “Get the Ring” coach, Sami Wunder has created one-on-one coaching, self-study programs, a popular eBook, and a series of live-coaching events that help strong and successful women find lasting love and romantic relationships. www.SamiWunder.com