Few things feel as satisfying as earning the approval of your partner's friends. Yes, your SO's opinion of you is far more important than their friends' opinions, but come on. Who doesn't want to be that significant other everyone loves? It's tough to know how to win over your partner's friends, especially at first, but a little self-confidence and a lot of self-awareness can go a long way in forging a bond, even if you're nervous. As dating coach Diana Dorell previously told Elite Daily, "Pay attention to why you feel nervous. If you're nervous because you really care for your partner and see a future and worry that [their friends] will like you or not, that's pretty normal."
When I was first getting to know my now-husband's friends, I cared deeply what they thought of me — so much so that I forgot to be myself. Remember that your SO's friends want to get to know you, not the person you think they want you to be. While there are some people who excel at charming an SO's friends, for others, it takes some time to relax. If you're struggling to bond with your partner's friends, here are some tips for making a genuine connection.
I know I'm not the only person who reaches for my cell phone when I'm uncomfortable. Whether I'm waiting in line, waiting for my friends to show up, or feeling left out of a group situation, my phone is my savior and my crutch. But I cannot stress this enough: If you want to make a good impression, put down the phone. It's impossible to be present if you're scrolling through Instagram, and your partner's friends can't get to know you if you're not an active participant in the conversation.
While staring at your cell phone screen can distract you from your nervousness, a better way you can distract yourself is by joining the convo. As relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter said, rather than keeping yourself occupied with your phone, "you can occupy yourself with getting to know your partner’s friends. This should take the focus off your discomfort and point you in a positive direction." Once the conversation picks up, you'll forget all about your nerves.
Treat Them Like Your Own Friends
When I first starting spending time with my SO's friends, I found myself desperately wishing I felt as comfortable around them as I did with my own clique. Over time, I learned that the trick to feeling comfortable is to treat your partner's friends as if they were your own. Are you sarcastic around your BFFs? Then be sarcastic with your partner's. This will expedite the process of developing familiarity, which in turn allows your SO's friends to trust you and enjoy your company more.
"Trust builds with the 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. You can regard your partner's crew as acquaintances, or you can consider them potential new friends, but I can almost guarantee the latter option will work out better for you in the long run.
You can always buy your SO's friends' affection with complementary rounds of drinks at the bar or free Uber rides. But if you want to earn their affection, you can show them generosity in ways that don't just involve paying for stuff. Take the time to make the members of your partner's crew feel special. Collect details about their lives, and when you see them next, remember those things they told you.
Yes, most people love to talk about themselves, but your SO's friends will also love you for making a concerted effort in getting to know them. "Think of yourself as an interviewer," suggested Winter. "Ask them questions about themselves: their hobbies, passions, and dreams. Nestled within those topics you'll find their heartbeat and this is where connections are made." By demonstrating a genuine interest in the careers and relationships of your partner's friends, you can learn more about those friends and discover shared interests as well. That's a win-win in my book.
Play To Your Strengths
If you know how to keep people engaged with a great story, then go ahead and share your best anecdotes. If you're an excellent listener, then lend your ear. Rather than pretending to be someone you're not, be exactly who you are and behave in a way that best reflects your personality. I have a feeling your SO's friends will appreciate your raunchy sense of humor much more than your disingenuous attempts to be someone you're not.
If your SO's friends are all lawyers and you know next to nothing about law, there's no need to pretend otherwise. Instead, emphasize what you do know and love, such as sports, or telling jokes, or literature. "Being yourself and trusting that that is enough helps you feel confident and puts them at ease to be themselves too," Dorell pointed out. It's tempting to want to blend in, but you shouldn't feel the need to hide who you are and what you know best.
Limit The PDA
Do I even need to explain this one? PDA may be a nice way to connect with your partner outside the comfort of home, but when you're around other people, that smooching and hand-holding can make outsiders feel more than a little uncomfortable. If you want your partner's friends to know you for you — not just as their new bae — then let go of your SO's hand and make an impression on your own.
As much as you want to be affectionate, you should also be respectful of your SO's friendships and aware of what excessive PDA may do to harm them. As certified love coach Nikki Leigh told Elite Daily, "If you value the other friendships, be aware of their reactions when you're around [them]." Do those friends look totally grossed out when you nuzzle noses with your SO at the bar? Then save the lovin' for your bedroom and focus on making new connections, not making out with your boo.
If your partner's friends don't like you, it's not the end of the world. It may even be the case that you don't particularly like them. But if your SO cares about their friendships and you care about your SO, you should try your best to make your best impression. Who knows — your partner's friends may just wind up becoming your friends as well.