Creating Bonds by Connecting with Your Partners Friends

As the holiday season approaches we will have many opportunities to socialize with friends and family.  Our circle of friends encompasses the people we work with, play with, worship with, and with which we have many other encounters. A special group of people is the group that comprises our partner’s friends and family. It’s easy being nervous around our partner’s friends and family, especially the first time you meet them. While they may be strangers to you at first, remember that you all share one important thing in common, a connection with your partner! 

With that key thought in mind, approach conversations with new people in these social gatherings  with curiosity and a desire to learn what connects them to your partner. 

·         Be yourself - Let your partner’s friends see you for who you are.  No need to try to impress them.  Like you, they are curious about the connection between you and your partner. 

·         Be optimistic - You may be struggling in your life but this is not the place to vent or complain.  No matter how down you are, find something positive to grasp onto and hold that thought while you talk.  A good tip if you really don’t feel like talking is to learn to ask a few open-ended questions that keep the other person talking. 

·         Show your sense of humor - People are drawn to someone with a subtle sense of humor.  We usually assume that someone has balance in their life if they can laugh once in a while. This doesn’t mean to take over the conversation with a “stand up” routine.  That gives an entirely different and perhaps unwanted impression! 

·         Listen, a lot - Ask open-ended questions and let the other person talk. You’ll earn more brownie points as a good listener than as an interesting conversationalist. 

·         Draw the quiet people out - In a group, there is likely someone there who is more nervous than you.  Find those people, introduce yourself and if you need an ice-breaker, ask them how it is that they know your partner. 

·         Talk with everyone - Talk with the older people, the younger people, people dressed differently, everyone you can.  It’s not how we are alike that makes us interesting; it’s how we are different.  A tip to remembering who people are is to talk with them with the goal of finding something unique and interesting about them. It will be hard to forget who the older man is in the corner of the room when you discover that he used to be a roadie for Elvis Presley! 

·         Establish a reason to connect later - There will be people who share the same interests with us and with whom we would like to hang out.  Take the opportunity to tell them “I really want to hear more about this but I’ve got to mingle around the room right now.  Let’s plan to get together sometime and continue this conversation.” That opens up the opportunity to see those people socially again, perhaps with your partner. 

·         Don’t be afraid to bring up your partner - These people already know that you have a connection with your partner so let them know what keeps the fire going between you two! That will gain you some respect and trust from your partner’s friends and family as they come to see that you are “good for” your partner and their friend. 

During the holidays there will be plenty of opportunities to socialize with your partner’s friends and family. Take the opportunity to get to know these people better, discover what it is that connects them with your partner and let them know some of the ways in which you are connected.   

These conversations will only expand your own circle of friends and enhance the relationship with your partner! 

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