Today’s guest blog is from author Alison Blackman, who writes about something almost all of us go through at one point or another. I think it is great to actually put a little thought into when you should introduce a new love interest to the other important people in your life.
Sally was really excited about the dinner party she was planning Friday night, because she was finally going to introduce her new boyfriend Howard to her best friend Patty and her husband, Raymond. Sally was very sure that Patty and Raymond would love Howard and was looking forward to a fabulous evening.
Things didn’t go exactly as planned. Sally and her friend were so naturally chatty that she didn’t seem to notice that Howard barely said a word. Still, she was shocked when Patty called her aside in the kitchen not to say how great Howard was, but to let Sally know in clear terms that she didn’t like Howard at all. Then Raymond called after the dinner not to thank Sally for inviting him, but to tell her that clearly – Howard wasn’t right for her. Sally was devastated! After knowing Patty and Raymond for nearly 15 years, she desperately wanted these special people in her life to like one another, but they didn’t and now she really didn’t know what to do.
The best way to introduce the people you care about to each other is not to rush it. Every new relationship needs time to grow and solidify. The two of you need to spend enough time alone to get to know each other before adding the not-always-so-friendly relations and friends to the mix.
If your friends aren’t as wildly enthusiastic about your new love as you are, it could be for a wide variety of reasons. They might just need some more time to warm up to the new person in your life. Or, if your friends are single, they may be viewing your new partner with a green-eyed monster of jealousy. However, if your best friend immediately gives you a definite “thumbs down” about someone you’re dating, it might just be because they see him or her without the hazy, rose-colored glasses of love you are currently wearing.
Devoted, intuitive friends (who give you substantive reasons for why they think the new love is “bad news”) can give you valuable information and food for thought.
In this case, though Nancy and Howard had been dating for four months, they had not worked through where they saw their status as a couple before Nancy introduced Howard to her closest friends. And Howard, feeling the strain of wanting to be accepted by people important to Nancy, may have made a poor first impression. Nancy should have asked Patty and Raymond specifically why they thought Howard wasn’t right for her. If they then had been unable to answer, or if they seemed unwilling to support Nancy’s decision to move ahead with the romance despite what they’d said, maybe THEY weren’t the supportive friends Nancy believed them to be. If Nancy had taken the time to press Patty and Raymond on specifically why they felt Howard was not the right one for her, she might have immediately realized (as she later did anyway) that he had just tried too hard to please and not that there was anything intrinsically wrong with him.
Don’t let that thumbs down get you down. No matter how much you love and trust friends and family, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have these people proven themselves to be good and impartial judges of important matters in my life previously?
2. Do these people really know me well enough to judge what I need and who is really right for me?
3. Are these the people I have sought out when I’ve needed serious support in my life before?
4. Do these people have love interests of their own?
5. Could these people be jealous because they don’t want me to shift my focus from them to someone else?
6. Are these people radically different than my new love interest so that bringing in an outsider, who might have different tastes and ideas, is threatening or a turn-off to them?
If your family really cares for you they will normally try to like, or at least accept, the person you are trying to make a relationship with. Life is a lot nicer when your family members love your new partner as much as you do, but sometimes, they don’t. The best way to introduce your new love to family is to let your relationship get strong enough as a couple to withstand whatever bad vibes your not-so-well-meaning family members may toss your way. Keep your expectations reasonable. If your family members are cordial, this is all that is really required. Anything more is a bonus!
When you introduce a new love is also important. Doing so at a large and or informal gathering (e.g. a holiday party) is a lot easier than when they are sitting across the table, one on one. If you sense that the pressure to be on display is too much, try to bring him or her into conversations and activities you know they would enjoy doing. Don’t push.
My top tips in a nutshell:
1. Don’t rush the introductions. Give your relationship time to solidify before you introduce your partner to your friends and family, especially children.
2. Reduce pressure on the “newbie” by introducing them in a relaxed, informal atmosphere (preferably at a gathering) instead of a one-on-one situation.
3. Get specifics objections if your friends or family aren’t immediately smitten with your new love.
4. Check the motives (particularly of friends) if they give your new love thumbs down.
5. In the final analysis, make up your own mind!
6. Don’t expect your family or child to love your new partner or even like him or her. Regardless, courtesy and respect is required and needs to be enforced.
How have you introduced a new love to friends and family – and how did it go?
Alison Blackman is a life and relationship expert, relationship and dating advice book author, and creator of the Advice Sisters Advice. She is widely credited with bringing the advice info-attainment genre, online featuring a signature “Double-Take” Q&A format, featuring two different points of view for each question asked. Alison is also the co-creator of a new relationship website called “Leather and Lace Advice” which offers her female perspective in a “Double-Take” with her new partner “Tony.” Together, they offer dating and relationship advice with two very different views on the same subject. You can follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and follow Alison&Tony @leatherlaceadv.