Is there anything more daunting than throwing your new love interest to the savages AKA your judgemental group of co-dependent friends? No. So much no.
If your friendship group has a tendency to scare everyone away, it’s partly because they (hopefully) care but mainly due to off-the-cuff questions like, “Have you ever let a plant die on purpose to get back at your partner for pissing you off that one time five years ago?” You know, normal questions.
So to avoid losing potential marriage material because of your friends’ affinity for talking about petty revenge, there are a few guidelines to make the first meet’n’greet as smooth and pain-free as possible. Don’t let your mates fuck everything up for you but if they do, there’s always Tinder.
RELEASE ALL INFORMATION BEFOREHAND
If I have to sit through one more awkward dinner where one-half of the relationship finds out something debaucherous about the other half, I’m calling it quits on life and smacking that eject button with my face.
There is nothing, nothing more uncomfortable than friends accidentally revealing something about you that you’re yet to tell your partner, so I suggest you just get all of your closeted skeletons out of the way before you start introducing your partner to anyone.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR PARTNER HANGING
Alright so just to be clear, I’m all for letting new people get a feel for a group by themselves. You don’t wanna be helicopter-partnering over someone and suffocating them with your desire for everyone to get along.
However, you also don’t want your new love to feel like they don’t have your support. Can you imagine having to field questions about your questionable taste in movies by yourself? I’ve felt attacked on multiple occasions just because I admit to enjoying Cat in the Hat (an arguable banger of a Dr Seuss film, fyi).
By all means give your partner breathing room, but be there for them if they begin to look like they’re out of their depth.
KEEP YOUR MATES IN CHECK
Sadly, you can’t control how other people behave. What you can do is threaten to cut off their access to your Netflix account – that’ll keep anyone in line.
If you notice anyone toeing the line of appropriateness, you (gently) whip their ass in shape so they know where the boundaries are. Hopefully you don’t have too many mates who are wildly vulgar but it does happen – I’ve definitely overstepped the mark on numerous occasions and my friends simply put me in time-out. It works a treat.
DON’T MAKE YOUR SQUEEZE FEEL EXCLUDED
You know what’re fun? Inside jokes. You know what are the worst possible jokes to listen to if you don’t know anyone? Inside jokes.
Although it’s enjoyable to have nostalgic banter with your inner circle, it can be a real bloody pain in the ass for anyone who isn’t aware of the context. Sure, we can try to explain inside jokes to those on the outside but the best it’ll result in is an awkward chuckle.
It might be tricky to cut them out entirely when there are new people around but at the very least, keep it to the bare minimum.
GIVE YOUR FRIENDS SOME CREDIT
More often than not, we surround ourselves with like-minded people who we usually have at least a few things in common with. If you’re afraid of how your friends are going to treat someone you care about, it might be time to chuck ’em overboard with fish heads tucked into their jocks.
In the same sense, it’s presumably not your partner’s first time meeting new people – give ’em the chance to mingle like a normal person.
STAY OPTIMISTIC IF IT DOESN’T GO WELL
If the first encounter goes a little pearshaped, resist the temptation to ditch your date and reinstall Tinder the second things start to go south.
I’ve met countless of my friends’ new boyfriends/girlfriends/pets who initially pissed me off so much that I considered buying them a one-way ticket to Easter Island, but I eventually warmed to them and became quite close with a few (except you Steven you piece of shit, you know what you did).
Anywho, first impressions aren’t the be-all and end-all so don’t fret too much ya pack of worry-warts. As much as you might dread the inevitable introduction, remember that unless your friends have a big ol’ crush on you, they usually want you to be happy and if they don’t like your new partner, there’s a chance they might just be a dud.
So listen to your mates. But also, listen to your partner. I dunno, just go with your gut. Unless your gut is wrong, obviously. Does this clear everything up? Absolutely not? Splendid. My work here is done.Image: Getty Images / Max Mumby / Indigo