Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When it's Time for the New Significant Other to Meet Your Friends

Some time ago, I began seeing a young man. We had gone out several times and even spent weekends together, but I hesitated to bring him around my friends. One day, he asked if we could have a date. He had a wedding to attend and I had a dinner to attend. Since his event ended earlier he suggested he meet up with me at the dinner. Whoa! Though we'd known each other for a month or so, I had no idea where the relationship was going. We were not exclusive and had yet to begin talking about being exclusive on any level. I didn't want to bring a guy who I was casually seeing around my close friends.

Being a private person, it is understood that if I bring you around the crew, that you're not just some person I'm hanging around, but someone who is to hopefully become  permanent in my life. It's my way of saying to my people, "This person is special to me and I trust him enough to bring him around you so treat him like family.". It also means that I trust that you will pass the "interview". Friends, ones who deeply care about you, will make sure that anyone you're putting your heart and feelings in, have your best interests at heart. They wanna know the person you decided to let become a part of your life is truly compatible with you and your life. The interview isn't even really intentional, it's simply a feeling out session where your intended and friends vibe or not. In conclusion, there was no need to bring him around and put him through the whole process if his intentions were unclear and perhaps even unknown at that point.

Recently I pondered, when DO you bring the new "friend", "boyfriend" or "significant other" around? I came up with a few signs that let you know it's time!

1)You will feel it's the right time, i.e., instinct.
You know you've found someone special when there aren't any questions left to be answered. I'm not saying that every guy or girl you bring around you're friends has to be "The One", but you should at least feel secure enough in the relationship that your gut instinct isn't telling you to STOP!or be cautious.

2)He/She asks to meet your friends.
When a guy or a girl asks to meet your friends, it's a huge sign that they desire to know you on the same level and become as close to you as your friends are. They are letting you know that they do indeed plan to stay around for awhile. It's also their way of seeing how you feel about them. If you decline to bring your friends around or if your friends don't know about them, then they can deduce that perhaps you're not serious about them or the relationship as they may be.

3)You have become an exclusive item.
So you both decided that you would no longer see other people. Congrats! It's new and fragile and there's nothing wrong with keeping your relationship private and special, but if he or she is ready to kick it with just you, just know he or she is ready to kick it with who you kick it with as well. Your the present, but your friends and family are part of the total package.

4)He or she has shown themselves to be reliable and respectful.
The road to a secure relationship can be a bumpy one and blending two lives into one can be tricky. As you get to know one another, you learn each others' "Dos'" and "Don'ts", failings and good points. Regardless, when someone sees something special in you, they want you to know that you can rely on him/her and their word. They also treat you and anyone you associate with the same respect as they treat you. So if the person you're seeing isn't exactly being respectful or reliable, you should cut them off but if you don't, you might want to see where this relationship goes before you bring them around the permanent people in your life.

5)Your friends know about him or her because you speak of them in a positive manner.
I don't know why, but some people always bring a guy or girl around their friends who they are constantly complaining about. Remember, your real friends are gonna have your back no matter what and if the person you're seeing isn't treating you right, they are gonna have problem with them. So don't expect your friends to all of a sudden have their emotions turned off just because the person you're dating decided to act right for one week straight and you decided to have him/her come along and hang out. If you want to continue to see them then fine, you're grown, do you. But don't expect your friends to like him when you like him and dislike him when you don't. It just doesn't work that way. If you hardly have anything positive to say about him or her, it's probably best that you don't introduce him or her to your friends. At least until your relationship stabilizes and you have nothing but positive things to say.

If you're the friend(s) meeting the significant other for the first time, here are things you may need to do as well:

1) Be on your best behavior.
Yes, when the boys/girls get-together it can be a wild,hilarious and crazy time. But who we are with our closest friends when no one is around can be a bit much for someone new. Remember you are a reflection of your friend and do not want to put him or her in a negative light. Be courteous and respectful while making sure you keep the new person at ease.

2) Do not put the new person on trial.
Make polite conversation and ask casual questions you would of anyone you'd meet at any other time, i.e., a dinner party, after-work function, but don't ask personal questions or questions about the depth of your friends' relationship. This is not the Spanish Inquisition.

3)Do not flirt or get too close.
Chances are that you and your friends may have similar tastes in men/women. And even if you don't, your friend may have just made a perfect catch with someone you may not have considered. You vibe,they vibe and are really cool. While that's a wonderful thing, do not let your mind or actions start to wonder. Be clear: Your friend has brought this person around to let you know how much they feel for this person and also to stake their claim on them. As the great reggae singer Patra once said, "My property is my property!". Do not cross the line.

4) Keep your opinions of the person to yourself.
Keep in mind that you are not dating the person, your friend is. Unless asked, keep whatever opinions you have about the person to yourself. You may have differing opinions or points of views on sensitive subjects, but be clear as a friend, you sometimes have to grin and bear it. If the new significant other crosses the line and becomes disrespectful, it is up to your friend to correct it. If he or she does not, let your friend know in private.

5) Be happy for your boy or girl!
Love is a wonderful and rare thing. When two people put aside their past hurts, experiences, disappointments and take a chance on bringing another person into their lives, it is a beautiful thing to witness. Goodness knows all we go through to get there so celebrate it and respect it. Give the new couple the time and space they need and simply wish them the best.

Do you agree with these signs? Have you ever misjudged bringing someone new around your friends too soon? Please share!