It’s finally happened. You have a new beau. Things are great between the two of you. Your weekends are filled with interesting dates, great conversation and other more private activities. It’s fun, it’s easy and it’s just the two of you. But you eventually will have to introduce your great catch to your friends and family. Get excited, but follow these dos and don’t for successfully sharing your boyfriend or girlfriend to your nearest and dearest.
DO be strategic when introducing a new partner to your friends and family. Figure out who your best ally will be and start with them, especially if you anticipate criticism or invasive questions from the people who love you.
DON’T be in a rush to introduce a new partner to your children. You need to feel that there is something substantial to your relationship before you bring someone into your children’s lives. It’s in their best interest to see you in a healthy and committed relationship. Just wait until you get to know your new relationship a bit better.
DO be sensitive to the nature of the occasion the first time you bring your new partner to a group event. If you know ahead of time that your family or friends will be upset then let them be upset in private. Remember, you want everyone to be relaxed and walk away from the meeting feeling good about each other.
DON’T create awkward situations by setting up meeting times and places that are likely to cause someone to run late or get lost. Keep it simple so everyone can focus on getting to know each other.
DO plan the first meeting to be a relaxed time when everyone is at their best. Does your family enjoy Sunday cookouts or will everyone only behave in a restaurant? Cater to the situations that bring out the best in everyone and plan accordingly.
DON’T put more pressure on everyone and have the first meeting be an extended trip. Give everyone an easy out. If you must travel to visit family, avoid potentially awkward sleeping arrangements and embarrassing questions by booking a hotel room. Everyone benefits from a little privacy and a polite escape route. You want to end the visit when everyone is still having a good time and the goodbyes are a little wistful. Don’t wait until everyone is over it.
DO give your partner a run down of everyone they are going to meet. Keep it upbeat and positive. Give some background info that they may use as conversation starters. Does your dad like to fish or does your mom like to garden? These are all great things to know before meeting someone for the first time.
DON’T air too much dirty laundry before the first meeting. You want to give your partner a chance to get to know your family without any preconceived notions for who they are or what they’ve done in the past. However, it is totally appropriate to give words of caution if there are any sensitive topics that may cause discomfort or emotional distress.
The most important thing to remember when introducing your family and your friends to your new romantic interest is that everyone cares about you. As the common link between the two groups, it is your job to make sure that you create an inviting situation where people focus on the positives, When all else fails, it never hurts to take a long a thoughtful hostess gift, even if you point your partner in the right direction.