Except… it’s never that simple, is it? We all have uniquely complex family dynamics, and we all have that one friend who’s unafraid to jump right in with a bucketload of awkward questions and embarrassing anecdotes to make you sweat.
But if you’re serious about each other, sooner or later you’re going to meet each other’s friends and family. And it should be a joyous occasion, as all the people who mean the most to you look ahead to your future with hope and happiness. So today let’s explore 5 ways to make sure the timing’s right and everything goes smoothly.
Wait out the honeymoon period
The honeymoon period is deceptive. Lust and romance sometimes mask deeper incompatibilities, which surface only when the initial phase of intense excitement has waned and the two of you have settled into a daily rhythm more akin to “real life.” Meeting one another’s friends and family is a huge deal though, so wait at least three months before the big day, maybe even six—whatever feels right. At that point you’ll have a good idea of whether this burgeoning love is the real thing, built to last. You’ll be confident in the longevity of the relationship, and proud to introduce this person as your new partner.
Avoid doing it on a holiday
Thanksgiving and Christmas are poignant if you’re single. Sometimes it’s like everyone around you is happily coupled and blissfully in love. Maybe they are, and maybe they’re not—but you might want to get in on the action and bring along your new partner. Think twice. Holidays bring with them a whole new layer of pressure, and it might not be fair to expect your partner to rise to the occasion. Plus, holidays are a time for family—which means inside jokes, long rambling stories about distant relations, and one drunk uncle. Is this really the best setting to unite two special but disparate parts of your life?
Wait until you’re not seeing anyone else
It might sound obvious, but don’t introduce your new partner to your friends and family if you’re still dating or seeing other people. If you can’t commit to the relationship, you can’t—and more importantly shouldn’t—commit to bringing them home. It won’t feel great, your loved ones will feel torn, and if things don’t work out but your friends and family really liked them you’ll have some tricky conversations ahead.
Make it a public setting
When your new partner meets your friends and family, they’re not just feeling pressure because they want to impress, but also because they’re in unfamiliar surroundings where everyone else feels at home and at ease. So meet at a restaurant, a cafe, a bar—preferably not one you frequent—where you’re all on equal footing. And avoid places where conversation will be stymied, like sports events or the movies. No one will be able to get know each other, and the whole thing will feel forced, uncomfortable, and dissatisfying.
Work out the order of meetings
Have your new partner meet your friends, cousins, and siblings before your parents and grandparents. The former will give you the blunt and honest truth about whether they think you’re right for each other, and whether this person’s going to fit in. If the feedback isn’t great, that might be a red flag—or you might genuinely think they’ve got your new partner all wrong and forge ahead with the relationship anyway. Either way, if you think this relationship has serious potential, wait for everyone else to have met your new partner before introducing them to your parents and grandparents, whose opinions probably carry even more weight, and whose affirmation you seek most.
Whatever you do, don’t rush it, and enjoy the moment when it comes
We all have different family dynamics, different friendship groups, and for you it might make sense to build these bridges soon into the relationship, or perhaps after an extended period of getting to know each other. But whatever you decide, make sure you’re comfortable with where the two of you are: Is the trust mutual and strong? Is the passion real? Are you committed? Are they?
And take your time. This isn’t a race, and the meeting should feel natural, fun, and stress-free. (Well, as stress-free as it can be, anyway!) Merging your love life with your social and family lives is a huge steppingstone, a momentous occasion—and it should feel be filled with joy. And if you’re single and looking for somebody special to take home to meet Ma and Pa, well—you’ve come to the right place.
Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.