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Ask A Woman: How do I make a good impression with my new gal’s friends?
Howdy, fellas. Tackling another free-standing post this week: meeting your love interest’s friends for the first time. (As is my habit, I’ll mainly use female pronouns here, but this could definitely apply to those readers who date men.) To some extent, this is like meeting her parents. Here’s why:
1) You MUST make a good impression. Or at least, you must do everything in your power to make a good impression. It will make her life (and yours) infinitely easier if her friends like you, and don’t mind having you around.
2) You will be stuck in the company of these people for the foreseeable future, if not forever. You don’t have to love them, but a cordial, pleasant relationship is preferable.
3) There are few healthy relationships that withstand both partners or one partner abandoning all their platonic friendships (or cutting ties with family), so you want to make sure you’re acting in a manner that is conducive to your gal’s maintenance of those relationships.
You “gotta get with” her friends…platonically, of course.
Granted, parents may be looking for something a little different when it comes to their children’s mates–responsibility, maturity, financial stability. And her friends, while they don’t want to hang out with a broke, unreliable douche who makes boob jokes, have different priorities. If you’re going to be joining them for baseball games and trivia at the bar, and attending their weddings, they want you to be fun, easy-going, and nice to their friend. Yes, yes, there are always a couple people in the group who find it hard to be happy for their once-single friend, but I’m not speaking about those people. Those people will be slow to warm to you no matter what you do.
So, how do you woo her friends? Spend time with them. No, it won’t be as fun as a night with the boys, at least not initially, but it’s an investment in your relationship. Get to know these friends. Take a sincere interest in their jobs, their hobbies, their significant others. You may even find that true friendships with these women emerge. All the better. While you’re putting in time, be on your best behavior. To some extent, you’re dating her friends, too. I mean, the goals are similar…except, you know, you shouldn’t try to sleep with her friends. So behave around them, at first, the way you would on a first date. Avoid hot button topics–”Nice to meet you, where do you fall on the abortion debate?” Be courteous, ask them questions. Buy the first round of drinks. Try to get to know their boyfriends. This should be obvious but be nice to your girlfriend in front of them. No jokes at her expense, no complaints about her annoying habits. If she does something that upsets you while you’re with all her friends, wait and discuss it with her later.
Eventually, your relationships with her friends will evolve, and hopefully become more interesting and complex, moving beyond these reserved first-meeting situations. Some of her friends may become people you genuinely look forward to seeing, and with whom you have a connection. Others may become “Ugh, we’re having dinner with Lauren tonight” and that’s okay, too. The important thing is to put your best foot forward so that your girlfriend and her friends have no doubt about your intentions, and feelings for your lady.
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