Introducing Your Loved One to Family and Friends
By Dr. Pepper Schwartz
Easy does it! Just repeat after me, "I know this is hard to do. But millions have done it before me, and millions will do it after me." Now, take a deep breath, and we'll continue.
You are head-over-heels loopy about this wonderful person you have recently become enamored with from PerfectMatch.com. Naturally, at some point, you'll want to show her or him off. Completely understandable and logical! However, there're some dangers if you go public with this person too quickly.
Here are some things to think about and consider:
- What if this most wonderful person doesn't like them? You don't want anything to discourage the relationship early on. Supposing you've always found your sister endearing, but the new person in your life is aghast when she jumps on the table and bursts into a Barbara Streisand song! Before you test these waters, you should have prepared the road ahead, and her or him, very carefully. Otherwise, you might find this relationship crumbling before your sister hops on an open chair, belting out Liza Minnelli's rendition of "New York, New York".
- What if your friends and/or family don't approve? You need to know how you feel before you let your friends and family meet your new love. You have to be rock solid because if not, you may suddenly see this person in a new light. This is not all bad: a little reality is useful when you first emerge from the early stages of infatuation. You'll need important, independent and valued feedback. There's lots of reality which has to, and will come into any intense and long-lasting relationship. Just be careful, and don't rush it.
- What if she/he starts to feel trapped and pushed too fast? You think it's just a dinner with the folks. They, on the other hand, think it's the Spanish Inquisition; they're being sized up for parenthood and genetic appropriateness. You may not even be serious about this person, yet…and they won't know it. Most people think a visit to meet the parents or best friend is a big deal, even if you don't. You don't want to unnecessarily overwhelm someone early in the relationship.
So, you ask, when should I showcase this fabulous human being?
- When they start to ask, "Why haven't I met your friends?" Or they say, "I'd love to meet your family". Now, this could freak you out if you aren't ready to integrate this person into your life. But, if you do want to reassure this person she or he means a lot to you, definitely consider introducing them when hints and/or requests are made. Obviously, the person asking is ready. Are you?
- When you want this amazing person to know you care a lot about them. Bringing someone home, out to dinner with your best friend, to a wedding or ceremony when lots of your friends are around, is a huge statement. If you want to get a message across about what you think of someone, this will certainly do it!
- When you want an outside opinion. You've been completely consumed with her or him. Then, it suddenly occurs to you this person is, well, different from anyone you've gone with before. Because they mean so much to you, a little doubt comes into your new perfect world about how she or he will do in front of company, friends or family. Before you jump in with both feet, a little reaction from people you trust is an excellent idea.
Every relationship has to go through the sometimes awkward stage of introduction. It's inevitable this moment has to come when your friends and family meet someone you care about, and they all size each other up! You want to make sure you know what your goals are before you make these introductions. Is it feedback, an announcement you're really serious, or a deepening of the relationship you are looking for? Just make sure you know your own motives before you begin!
Once your thoughts are clear, you want to let this important person in your life know what they're getting into so they're on the same page. You wouldn't want them thinking one thing, when you're thinking something else. Besides, good communication is one of the most important factors in any long-lasting relationship! Once you're married, you two will have many opportunities to look back at these introductions and share many laughs!