5 Signs Your Partner Is Comfortable Around Your Friends, According To Experts
I am a firm believer that couples should spend some time apart with their own friends, to both maintain some independence and to nurture their respective friendships. I mean, we've all known that person who totally dumps their friend group the minute they get coupled up. That just isn't healthy! However, just as important as spending time with your friends on your own is including your partner in those group outings, too. But you don’t want to force it. Fortunately there are several signs your partner is comfortable with your friends that might help you decide how to move forward.
So, what exactly should you be looking out for? Well, according to experts, some telltale behaviors can let you know how much your partner enjoys spending time with your friends. Ideally, those relationships between your loved ones will form naturally and easily, but if not, there are some things you can do to help move things along. That way, when there are special experiences that you want to have with your friends (or let's be honest, you just want to hang out with them), bae won't just be up for joining in the fun out of obligation, but will actually be enthusiastic about it. But for that to happen, the first step is for your partner to be comfortable being themselves around your friends, and here's how to to know that they really are, according to the experts.
1. Your partner initiates hanging out with your friends.
One of the clearest signs that your partner is comfortable with your friend group, according to relationship expert and host of the Dates & Mates podcast, Damona Hoffman, is if they take an active role in spending more time with your friends. If “your partner asks questions about your friends and suggests group outings with them,” then they feel like they are becoming a part of the group, Hoffman says.
Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, agrees, saying a partner who feels comfortable with your friends may suggest a double date with other couple friends. “A double date suggestion shows you that your partner actually genuinely enjoys spending time with your friends, and wants to include them in your precious date nights,” she explains.
And if they make a point of making future plans by ending the outing with a suggestion or invitation for a later date, then according to Dr. Lesliebeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist and founder of LoveVictory.com, your partner is not only comfortable with your friends, but actively interested in fostering a real friendship.
“Sometimes, even if your partner seems to 'click' with your friends, that click goes nowhere," she explains. "So, talking about future plans sustains the relationship and reveals common interests.”
2. Your partner says positive things about your friend group.
The way your partner talks about your friends can also give you a good idea of their comfort level with them. According to Hoffman, "[if] your partner is complementary and positive about your friends,” it's a good sign. She also warns that the way an SO talks about your friends can present you with red flags about a toxic relationship, if what they're saying is constantly negative.
“Something that insecure or manipulative people do in relationships is to attempt to separate their partner from their friends — either intentionally not allowing them to spend time with friends or otherwise discrediting or undermining friendships so that you become reliant on your relationship for all of your emotional needs,” Hoffman explains.
It’s one thing for your SO to take some time getting comfortable around your squad, but if they're actively working to isolate you from them, it’s time to take a closer look at their relationship overall.
3. They aren’t attached to your hip in a group setting.
When you and your SO are together with your friends, how do they behave? Do they stay by your side every moment and panic when you go to the bathroom? Or are they able to wander off and mingle with others? Hoffman says it’s a great sign if “you can go to an event with your friends without your partner attached at your hip. [And] If your partner can have independent conversations with the people close to you.”
4. They are engaged in the conversation.
When you’re in a group setting, does your partner make an effort to engage your friends in conversation, and ask questions to get to know them better? If so, Conti says that’s an excellent sign that your partner is at ease and interested in fostering a friendship with your friends.
“When your SO asks your friends questions about their lives, this shows that they are making an effort to get to know them and in turn, feel more comfortable around them," she says. "If your SO remembers minor details about their lives, this shows that [they’re] taking the time to actively listen and prioritize their lives since they are important to you.”
5. They are clearly having fun with your friends.
But the best sign of all is when you can see that your partner is actually enjoying themselves with your friends. Dr. Wish says to keep an eye out for their laughter, because, “real laughter is a sign of connecting with others. It also can communicate: ‘I like you. We are similar.’”
Another sign is if they are participating in whatever the group is doing. For Conti, engagement is the key sign in whether or not your partner feels comfortable and is having a good time.
“When your partner is comfortable around your friends, they will be engaged in whatever activity that you are experiencing with your friends, whether it is dancing with the group at a friends wedding or engaging with the bowling team during a night at the bowling alley,” she says. Which is pretty much the whole point, right?
How to help your partner get more comfortable with your friends.
Ideally, your partner would feel comfortable around your friends right from the start, but if they're shy, or introverted, or your friends are a lot (and let’s be honest, we all have that friend), they may need a little helping hand from you. Fortunately, the experts have some advice on that front as well. Hoffman says your best bet is to limit the number of people they meet at once. “It can be very overwhelming for a partner to be introduced to all your friends at once and be expected to feel as comfortable with them as you are," she says. "Begin in small doses and prep your partner on the people they are going to be meeting so they have easy jumping off points for conversation.”
Are there any couples in the group that you suspect your partner will connect with the easiest? If so, Conti says, set up a double date first — or find a way to include some of their friends, too.
“Plan a double date or group friend outing where you invite a few of your partner's friends and a few of your friends," Conti suggests. "Bringing everyone together to tailgate a big game or pre-game a night out will help you to all bond, and begin to create memories that will make everyone feel more comfortable together.”
And, of course, since the best offense is a good defense, start by helping your partner with talking points in case there's an awkward lull in the conversation. Dr. Wish suggests, “giving your partner ahead of time an overview of each of your friends, and making sure to include things of common interest.” By setting your partner up for success from the start, you’ll be enjoying easy breezy group hangs in no time.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!