There are so many milestones that happen during the early stages of a relationship: the first time you hook up, the day you define your couple status, and the moment you debut your new partner on social media, just to name a few. Another major milestone? Meeting your partner’s friends. You can learn a lot about someone from the people they hang out with, but planning fun group date ideas where everyone can chill together could be a great way to really bond with your partner's social circle, not just make small talk. It’s a way to feel more connected to your partner’s life, and also to make some new friends of your own.
It's also a great opportunity to learn more about your partner. Their friends might even mention eccentricities you never knew about, or divulge embarrassing stories from the past. If you’re nervous to hang out with them at first, don’t stress — your commitment to getting to know them will show them you mean well.
"Trust builds with friends if you make the effort to build your own friendship with them, so that they like you, approve of you, and want you around," Erica Gordon, dating expert and founder of The Babe Report, previously told Elite Daily. And remember that you have a strong connecting point: your mutual appreciation for the person who brought you together.
To ease any tension and get everyone feeling their most comfortable, plan some casual hangs to get to know each other better. Before long, your partner’s friends might become your go-to pals, too.
1. Host A Dinner Party
For optimal adulting vibes, invite everyone over for an evening in. You can cook for them, or do it potluck-style and have each person bring a dish. This will give you plenty of quiet space and intentional time to talk.
2. Go To A Carnival
If you want something more adventurous, get everyone together for a day at a local amusement park or carnival. People can branch off into groups and ride different rides (so the rollercoaster haters don’t feel excluded).
3. Have A Picnic In The Park
Pack a bag of snacks, a big blanket, and enjoy a sunny day outside. You can sit there all afternoon with no stress or pressure.
4. Try A Wine Or Beer Tasting
Check out a brewery or winery in your area, and do a tour of it together. As you’re tasting drinks, you can compare your favorite options, and maybe grab a case or bottle for your next dinner party.
5. See A Movie Or Show
The key here is to see something thought-provoking, and then convene afterwards to talk about it. You obviously won’t get to say much during the show itself, but the topic might spark discussions that will help you learn about each other’s perspectives.
6. Sing Karaoke
There’s nothing that brings people together like belting the lyrics to your favorite songs. Convince one of bae’s friends to do a duet with you!
7. Host A Board-Game Night
This is another easy group date idea you can pull off at home. Have everyone bring their favorite board games, then face off against each other in different teams. You’ll bond easily by working toward a common goal.
8. Hit Up Happy Hour
Everyone loves a good happy hour, where they can blow off steam after class or work with cheap drinks and appetizers. Pick a place with an extensive menu so there will be options for everyone.
9. Face Off In Laser Tag
Feeling competitive? Plan a night out for laser tag, where everyone can truly let their walls down. You’ll make shared memories that everyone will laugh about for months to come.
10. Go Hiking
Take advantage of the natural area closest to you by planning a group outing on a nice day. Pack snacks and water and make a whole day of it! The quiet time outdoors will give you plenty of space to talk.
11. See Live Music
Whether it’s a huge arena concert or a small outdoor show at your local park, live music is an awesome way to bond with people. Continue the hangs after by grabbing a drink and discussing the show.
12. Do Something Seasonal
Depending on the time of year, you could invite everyone to a pumpkin patch, a botanic garden, a day at the beach, or an afternoon of sledding. The changing seasons provide endless opportunities for spending time with pals.
Hanging out with your partner’s friends doesn’t have to be stressful if you pick the right activity. Think about everyone’s interests and schedules, then look for something you think the whole group will enjoy. When you make time to get to know your partner’s friends, you’re showing bae just how much you care to be part of the squad, which can go a long way toward making your relationship stronger.