Congratulations! If you’re reading this it’s hopefully because you’ve reached an early dating milestone and are about to embark on one of the most nerve-racking ordeals since your first date – the introduction to your fledging partner’s friends.
If those butterflies in your tummy are threatening to impact that all-important first impression, fear not. Here’s our advice for coming out smiling.
1. Do your background checks
You don’t have to go all Sherlock Holmes on your date’s friends, but knowing a few things about them beforehand will make it easier for you to find common ground and get conversation flowing. How do they know your date? What makes them tick? What do they do for a living? Have they any unusual interests or hobbies? Your attention to detail with score you brownie points with your date, and you’ll be less tongue-tied under pressure if you’ve already a few conversation starters up your sleeve.
2. Don’t get so caught up in making a good impression that you forget about your date!
His or her friends might think you’re a laugh a minute or a great conversationalist if you give them your undivided attention, but they’ll also be left wondering what you really think about your new partner. They’ll naturally be curious to see what the two of you are like in one another’s company. Don’t try to force anything, but do let them see that the two of you are having a great time together. That doesn’t mean you have to slobber all over each other the whole time – nobody needs to see that!
3. Remember their names – and use them
Psychologists have found that the most influential word in the English language is the name of the person you’re speaking too. It seems we’re putty in the hands of anyone who cares enough to learn our name and uses it to demonstrate they’re focused on us. Stands to reason then that forgetting a name is a big faux pas – beware!
4. Be optimistic and don’t stress too much
Your date has invited you to meet his or her friends for a reason, and presumably thinks you’re going to get along just great. Go into the evening with the same mentality and you’re onto a winner. That said, first impressions are not the be all and end all. If your nerves do get the better of you, shyness strikes, or you’re just not in the right frame of mind, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to meet his or her friends in the future. And if one or more friends just aren’t floating your boat, it’s not a disaster - they’re your partner’s friends and you’re not obligated to become besties from day one! Do avoid confrontations or arguments though with anyone whose opinions are wildly different from your own – for your partner’s sake if nobody else’s.