When you're in a new relationship, there are a lot of exciting firsts to look forward to, like your first kiss, your first overnight, and the first time you say "I love you." But with all those exciting firsts come some that are a bit more nerve-wracking, like the first time you meet your partner's friends. That's especially true if you're a bit shy or have social anxiety, so it might be a good idea to have a few icebreakers for meeting your partner’s friends to pull out if you're worried about awkward silences.
If you're nervous about meeting your partner's friends for the first time, you're not alone. Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily it's not uncommon or unreasonable to be worried about making a good first impression. "Oftentimes, in this situation, it's easy to feel like the friends will judge you and what you say can have a big impact on their opinion which is important to your significant other. Having questions prepared shows you are interested in them and it helps things flow," she says.
Not only can they keep the conversation going, but icebreaker questions are also a great way to get to know your partner's friends while making a great first impression. "Also, if you're the sort of person who gets into an awkward conversation with people you don't know too well, this will help warm you (or them) up," Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup coach and host of the Why Women Love Toxic Men Workshop, tells Elite Daily.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember in this situation is that your partner's friends just want to make sure that you genuinely care about their friend, as Julie Spira, dating coach and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com, tells Elite Daily. "If you can show that, while keeping up a conversation, you should pass the friends test," she says.
If you're still not sure what to ask, no worries. Here's what the experts suggest asking to help start the conversation and to keep it flowing
Don't be afraid to do a little recon about your partner's friend with your partner before you meet up. Having a few interesting facts about them in mind can help you come up with questions that show that you are genuinely interested in getting to know them. “This can be as innocent or as cheeky as you want it to be,” says Chong. “Both ways will be sure to lead to very interesting conversations!”
If your partner's friends have the kind of relationship where they love teasing each other, then this question can be a fun way to get some lighthearted but juicy details about your partner, says Chong. Plus, they'll have fun recounting some stories about their old shenanigans.
As Rubin said, a great icebreaker question in this situation is one that's light, optimistic, and prompts your partner's friends to talk about something they enjoy. And what pet owner doesn't want to brag about their cute little companions? Chances are they'll be breaking out their phone and showing you all their latest adorable pics.
Another great way to get the conversation going is to ask your partner’s friends about their favorite memories with them, whether that's a trip they took or just a funny story that they cherish about a time they spent together in the past. “This elicits nostalgia and can also get your partner to chime in,” says Dorell.
The first meeting with your partner’s friends isn't just an opportunity for them to get to know you, but you also have a chance to get to know them better. Don't be afraid to ask them a bit more about their background, like where they grew up. “This one's good, because chances are you might know someone from the same area, or may have visited their home town or state, and can share stories about your visits to develop a common bond,” says Spira.
Asking about someone’s hobbies and interests is a great way to get them to open up. Just be sure to listen carefully and ask follow-up questions to show your genuine interest.
Asking for suggestions of movies and TV shows is another fun easy conversation starter. It not only will give you some insight into their tastes, but you may find you have some faves in common that you can talk more about. “Sharing your mutual interest with your significant other’s friends on a particular television series, or learning about others to add to your list is conversational and relatable for everyone,” says Spira.
While chances are your partner’s friends haven't been to any concerts lately, discussing favorite shows from the past can be a great way to start a conversation because people can be so passionate about music and excited to talk about it. “Music is a universal language, and chatting about your favorite bands, favorite concert venues, helps you go down memory lane, alone and together,” explains Spira.
Being introduced to your partners' friends for the first time can feel like a high-pressure situation, but there are ways to stay calm and make a great impression while just being yourself. The key, says Chong, is to enter the conversation with genuine curiosity. “They're just people in the end, and people like it when others take a sincere interest in them. You can't go wrong with praise or a curious question about them,” she explains.
“Instead of focusing on saying the 'right thing, focus on enjoying yourself and being yourself," adds Dorrell. “There is nothing more appealing than someone who is just being authentic and not trying to impress anyone.” And of course, it's important that when you ask those icebreaker questions, you're just as good a listener. “Try to avoid talking over their answers, so it doesn’t seem like you’re monopolizing the conversation,” suggests Spira.
Most importantly, just remember to be yourself and have fun. “Your partner loves their friends and wants to include you for you all to get to know each other! Enter into the situation with an open mind and a happy, cheerful attitude!” concludes Rubin. Sure, you might be entering the conversation as strangers, but by the end you may find you have brand new friends. How cool is that?
Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup coach and host of the Why Women Love Toxic Men Workshop
Nina Rubin, life coach
Julie Spira, dating coach and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com