Your knees feel weak, your palms are sweaty and your head is spinning. No, you don't have the flu. You're nervous about meeting your boyfriend's friends and sister. As if getting to know someone new isn't challenging enough, add in his best buds and family and your stress level may skyrocket. That said, with some careful consideration and thoughtful communication you can make the experience more awesome than anxious.
If you're worried about meeting his friends and sister, you aren't alone. It's common for young daters to have fears or anxieties when it comes to making a first impression on their partner's loved ones. While a major flub during the first meeting may make an impression, don't forget that you'll have other chances to show his friends and family just how awesome you are. For example, you nervously -- and accidentally -- call his sister Laura when her name is really Mara. Even though she might roll her eyes at the time, weeks or months down the road you two can joke about how silly the situation was.
Friends and Family Influence
Ask yourself, "Does it really matter what his big sis or best friend thinks of me?" The answer is most likely "yes." Friends and family often have a major influence when it comes to dating and love interests, according to social psychologist Theresa DiDonato who wrote "When It's Time to 'Meet the Family'" on Psychology Today. While your guy has the final say in who he dates, if those who are closest to him don't give the go-ahead, he may think twice. For example, he invites you over for a holiday get-together. You meet his sister and the two of you instantly click. She tells your guy that she's all for him dating you. This may make him see you in an even more positive light than he already does.
Communicate Your Feelings
Even though it's completely normal to have a case of the nerves when your boyfriend asks you to meet his friends or sister, don't expect him to read your mind and know what you're feeling. In a healthy relationship you should have the ability to share your feelings, and expect him to do the same with you. Communicate how you're feeling about the first meeting, telling him what your fears or worries are. Doing so allows him to support you, reassure you and guide you when it comes to the best way to approach this stressful situation.
Meeting his family and friends isn't all about what you have to say. Show his sister, or buds, some respect and listen to what they have to say. Engage in active listening, showing everyone just how interested you are in what they have to say. Try a tactic such as restating what his friend says in your own words or summarizing what sis tells you, suggests psychiatrist John M. Grohol in his article "Become a Better Listener: Active Listening" on PsychCentral. For example, his sister tells you about how stressful her college chemistry class is. You restate what she just said, changing the wording, and say something such as, "I see, so you have been working really hard this semester on your science major."
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