Help me make a great first impression with my girlfriend's friends.
March 2, 2011 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Tips for meeting new girlfriend's friends at a big party. Help me not just survive, but make a great first impression (plus a couple other complications).

So it's been 3 months or so now, and her birthday party is soon. There are going to be anything from 25-40 people depending on how many people show up. It'll be at the condo for a few hours, then to a bar for more drinks and dancing. She's been single for about a year I think before we got together. Our relationship is pretty strong, we communicate very well with each other, and apart from one pretty intense, emotional conversation that bothered both of us a bit (but we acknowledged we had to have it), everything's been going really well, just assume that. We hang out about twice a week,; I sleep over once, sometimes twice, a week (she has a roomate who I get along with well).

There are a few challenges about the party. She is a very extroverted, out going person; makes friends in 2 minutes with everyone. I, on the other hand, am mostly average to shy, but do have moments of brilliance when it comes to sociability. I'm not at all inept; I consider myself pretty skilled at conversation, can pass the ball back and forth, ask great questions (or else I would still be single), but I mostly do well with just a 2 person conversation. People almost always like me, but it's more of a he's such a good, polite, smart and quiet guy, as opposed to she's such a buoyant, bubbly person!!!

While I don't have superclose relationships with my friends, she does with her friends. They are really important to her and play a big part of her life. So of course I want to make a really great first impression.

This will also be the first time we're hanging out with other people; every other time we've been on dates alone, so we've had 100% of the other persons attention. She did (unnecessarily) point out to be that she'll be mingling, etc. to which I replied of course. A few introductions, and I should be good to go especially after a beer or 2, just don't abandon me all night.

Some harder stuff. She said she's pretty affectionate with her friends - she usually goes around hugging her guy and girl friends, with her arm around their waist while chatting, and wonders whether that will bother me or not. To be honest even I don't know the answer to this question. I only hug her and my immediate family, I don't like people in my personal space. I don't think she's a huge flirt and will behave inappropriately either. I of course said if it were ever an issue I'd let her know sometime AFTER that night, and wouldn't make a big deal out of it or anything, it's just something that we'd discuss and see if there's something we can work out.

She's also a little nervous about my seeing that side of her. She is a couple years younger than I am, has a pretty good job and is single (well, unmarried) and does get drunk (not irresponsibly - they take cabs, it's always groups of close friends) and enjoy herself with her friends and go dancing etc. I am not worried about her cheating at all, and see nothing wrong with this. She just worries a bit that I'd be put off by that (this sort of night happens probably every few months, so it's not a big deal to me. Even if it were, that'd be my problem, not hers). Since I don't dance, I'd probably join them at the bar for another beer or two and leave them to have their fun. I guess she's worried because we are pretty different in this way.

But it's an opportunity to meet her friends, get along well with them, in the future we all hang out together, and maybe even I hang out with her guy friends alone doing guy stuff, because that's how things generally develop.

We have acknowledged that we are pretty different in lots of ways, but similar in important ways too (wanting a family, financially responsible, believe education is important, sense of humour, sexually compatible, etc.)

What tips can you give me?

Should I just be myself and hope they like me?

Should I try really hard go way out of my comfort zone to try and be much more sociable?

What about the physical affection thing - everyone has different standards about how much they're comfortable with, so I know it's either I'm comfortable, or I deal with it because it's my problem and not hers. I don't want her to change anything about herself.

Any good success stories, anecdotes?

Do you think we are too different to make this a success?

posted by althanis to Human Relations (44 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Be yourself. Don't get drunk. Don't be clingy. Smile. There's nothing else you can do.
posted by brainmouse at 10:15 AM on March 2, 2011 [15 favorites]

Why wouldn't you just be yourself? Nobody likes someone who tries to put on a show by pretending to be who they aren't.

I feel you on the being shy and less social than her bit (that's me too), but really, just relax and be yourself and don't overthink it. She's obviously in to you, which tells me her friends will like you too.
posted by katy song at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Be yourself: You want them to like YOU, not some fake guy you make up to try & appease them. nthing don't get drunk. Sodas are your friend when you're out of your comfort zone.
posted by Ys at 10:20 AM on March 2, 2011

Just be yourself. I do think it'd be odd for you to leave the party without your girlfriend. It's one special night, her big birthday party (25 people is a lot)- you should suck it up, stay until the end of the night and take her home. Unless she doesn't want you there, in which case....maybe you are too different to make it work.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:21 AM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Nurse your beer. Basically stay sober. Be yourself, it'll be fine.
posted by Ignorance at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Think of it this way: if your relationship has legs, those friends will get to know what you're really like soon enough. Don't go out of your way to be unlike yourself. You already know you can carry a conversation once it's started, and if she's been saying good things about you to her friends, they're already primed to like you. There are probably other quiet but charming people in that crowd anyway. Go and have fun.

About the physical affection thing: it's okay to be uncomfortable with that, and to ask her to turn it down. On the other hand, it's okay for her to refuse to do so. How you guys resolve that is probably going to be a both-of-you thing.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:25 AM on March 2, 2011

Be yourself. Don't go hugely out of your comfort zone as it will send the message that this is how you are and you're setting yourself up for trouble later if you're not actually like that.

Have a drink in your hand but sip it slow. Get a little loose at the very most. Don't get drunk.

Smile. Laugh at jokes. This is supposed to be fun, so have fun.

Also, a thing I have learned from a similar set of experiences: If you're going to be meeting that many people at once, you stand a pretty good chance of forgetting names. This is one of those weird social cues: You're not actually expected to remember everyone's name but it is the done thing to feel bad about not being able to. So it's usually a decent idea to be a little self-effacing (but not self-deprecating - there is a difference) and when introduced to a new cloud of people, have a quick way of saying "So, just a quick thing - I'm a little scatterbrained sometimes and I'm meeting a whole lot of new people tonight so if I have a little trouble with names I apologize in advance." Smile when you say this. It's a politeness thing.

Also echoing what TPS said above: Don't leave early on her birthday. Until you know these people a little better I'd advise against leaving early without a concrete reason, a prior commitment, whatever.

This may all sound a little silly but it is an awesome thing when your significant other's friends like you. Sometimes it is a necessary thing to jump through a few social hoops.

Do you think we are too different to make this a success?

God no. What matters is you like each other and you like being in a relationship with each other and you want it to work. Sounds like you've got that down. You'll be fine. Good luck!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2011

About 10 attendees are all going to be staying over at her place when they/we leave the bar, so it's not the case where she'd find her own way home. If it were of course I'd stay the entire night.

I considered leaving the bar early because if I don't dance, I wouldn't want her to be out there with her friends worried about whether or not I'm bored, etc. while she's out on the dancefloor.

But what do other persons think about not staying the entire night?
posted by althanis at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2011

You know, I'd bet you anything that she's also talked to a bunch of her friends to let them know you're a little shy. This should in no way be read as an encouragement to abdicate the responsibility to be social and engaged, but: I would guess a bunch of them will also be making an active effort to be friendly to you, at least in the early stages of the party.

Should I try really hard go way out of my comfort zone

Yeah, man! I mean, be yourself, but becoming more social is like physically stretching; you do it incrementally over a long period of time, constantly trying more and more to mingle in ways you previously found difficult.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, be yourself. And be lucky that the two of you are able to communicate so much that you are both aware of your different styles (personal space, introversion/extroversion) and are both concerned for the others well-being. This is how relationships between people who are so different work -- you talk it out if it's a problem and you check in with one another to make sure it's not.

If anything, it seems to me that you both might be over-thinking it. You're both so concerned about how the other might react that you may be trying too hard. Don't do this.

Also remember, if her friends are normal well-adjusted sane people they are coming into this situation wanting to like you. You are someone important to someone they care about. So it's not really about you doing something that dazzles them -- it's just about not fucking up. So be your normal self -- that's the person your girlfriend is interested in -- and don't freak out.

As for whether or not you should continue to join them -- I do think, if your girlfriend would like for you to break out of your comfort zone, on her birthday, you should do it. However, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with couples going their separate ways if both are okay with it. Having a social life separate from your S.O. is not only okay - it's incredibly healthy. Don't let others judgmental standards warp what works for you and yours.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:29 AM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]

About 10 attendees are all going to be staying over at her place when they/we leave the bar

I change my answer slightly. If she's having a Girl's Night! slumber party, then ducking out is perfectly appropriate. If the group is mixed or includes any other romantic couples, it seems odd for you to leave her alone on her birthday.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:31 AM on March 2, 2011

You're beanplating this. Don't stress about pushing your comfort zone too deeply until you've gotten to know her group better and know the lay of the land. Approach the party the same way you would if you didn't know anybody at all, since it sounds like your girlfriend will be busy part of the time. Find some cool people and chat them up. Do that a couple times and you can float between cool group a, cool group b and girlfriend. Also: Until you know the lay of the land, don't drink to get tipsy or drunk. Save that for future parties. Seriously, pick a number and don't drink more than that number of beers. For me that's about 2 + 1 per hour.

I'm very similar to you and had a recent two party weekend with my girlfriend in January. I never really even danced until now but the DJ at the second party was so great that I ended up stepping out of my comfort zone, doing something new and having a great time.
posted by Skwirl at 10:32 AM on March 2, 2011

Is there any way that the two of you can get together with two or three of her friends (who will be at the party) before the party? Go for drinks or coffee or whatever a week or two beforehand, so that you have the opportunity to talk together in a small group. Then, when the party happens, you know more people than just her, and she doesn't have to feel like she is the only person who can introduce you around.

I'm a little like you, maybe. I'm kind of shy, but in the right circumstances, I'm really extroverted. My partner knows a ton of people, and now I know some of them too, so when we go to big events, she can spend time talking with people I may not know without worrying that I don't have anyone to talk to.

Be yourself. It's fine to stretch your comfort zone a little bit, but don't do it so much you feel self-conscious. After every beer/cocktail, have a big glass of water or something else non-alcoholic - I find it's easier to stand around at a party with a glass of something in my hand even if (especially if) I don't want any more alcohol right then.

Oh, and regarding the affection thing: yeah, this is your thing, not hers. She grew up in a particular way, you grew up in a different way, and neither way is bad. You get to feel what you feel about it, but recognize that making judgments or assumptions about what she "means" when she behaves in a way that is natural to her says more about you than it does about her.
posted by rtha at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

and her birthday party is soon

How soon? As a somewhat introvert myself, meeting 25-40 new people at once would not be fun if I knew no one else at the party other than her and the roommate.

Could you say, go out to brunch this weekend with you, her, and a couple of her friends and maybe a couple of your friends? That would be lower stress and give you some allies on the big day. (On preview, I see rtha is suggesting the same thing.)

Alternatively or additionally, could you invite a couple of your friends to the party?
posted by Jahaza at 10:36 AM on March 2, 2011

It's Saturday, as in 3 days from now.
posted by althanis at 10:37 AM on March 2, 2011

Alternatively or additionally, could you invite a couple of your friends to the party?

Here are 3 reasons I'd avoid this:

1. You'd have to resist the urge to default toward hanging out with them all night.

2. You'd have to worry about THEIR conduct as well as your own. They will reflect on you.

3. Inviting other people to someone else's party at the last minute can be stressful for the host.
posted by hermitosis at 10:47 AM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

" But what do other persons think about not staying the entire night?"

This is a good plan, I think, especially if people are staying over. My partner is very introverted and tends to wear out a few hours before I do at social events (and hates dancing). Instead of fighting over when we go home, he goes when he's ready, I go when I'm ready. Not a big deal and definitely not an indicator that he's not the right one for me (what?).

So no, don't worry about it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:48 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am far more outgoing with new people than my boyfriend and parts of your question could be written about us.

There's a lot of good advice here and I want to second that you should be yourself. Don't be more gregarious, drunk, etc that you normally would. I would also recommend the following:

- See if you can meet one or more of her friends before the party. If that's not an option, are there friends of hers that you know have something in common with you? This could be career, hometown, college, sports, hobbies, whatever. I often give my boyfriend a rundown of people who he should talk to about mutual interests.

- If your girlfriend is worried that you won't be enjoying yourself, you should make sure to let her know when you ARE having fun. This will help her relax and enjoy her party. It also keeps you from feeling like a party pooper when/if you do need to bow out for the evening.

- Take breaks. With a largish group, no one will notice if you head outside for a walk around the block, go to a quieter space and read a magazine or do whatever will give you a little down time. I've had to remind my boyfriend on multiple occasions that he doesn't need to be "on" the whole time.
posted by annaramma at 10:51 AM on March 2, 2011

Nthing be yourself - they'll want to know who you really are.

One other thing - you make a point, in your initial post and in your first update, of saying that you "don't dance." You should think about maybe giving it a try. It's something your girlfriend likes to do and has a lot of fun doing, and it's also something that nobody (who isn't a professional) is any good at anyway, which makes it extremely easy to do. I used to "not dance" and I needlessly missed out on a lot of fun.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh, but just to clarify - I'm not suggesting you take up dancing at this particular party - just something to think about in general.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:57 AM on March 2, 2011

Hi, you're my husband! Be yourself. He would frequently come to my parties with my 8 zillion super-close outgoing somewhat drunkish friends and stand off to the side holding up the wall while smiling and people watching. My friends knew he was quieter (I tell them everything!) so it wasn't a surprise, and since many of them were super-outgoing they'd go over and chat with him for a bit and then go back to drink more.

He endeared himself by being a good listener (since everyone else was a talker), being all-time designated driver, and being game for anything once (dancing, karaoke, hula hooping in public, don't ask). He didn't often volunteer himself but if someone said, "Come do karaoke with me!" he would, cheerfully, and so everyone got that he was quiet, but fun.

I know these parties weren't his favorite thing, and seeing my more outgoing behavior in a group was sometimes a bit wearing and stressful for him, especially early in the relationship, but he survived, had fun at some of them, and made a good impression on my friends by just being himself. (Also, by not being judgmental about people's drinking, even if he was the guy stuck driving the drunkies home.)

We've been together 10 years, married 8, and while at first he was a little weirded out by all my friends knowing his business, now he appreciates that I have 8 zillion super-close friends who will babysit our kid, send him a plate of brownies just because they remember he likes them, ask him about his fender bender, drive me to the ER in an emergency, etc. I also think he's just as glad that friendship-maintenance is my job, not his, because I'm more outgoing than he is, so he gets the benefits of those friends without having to do the work. :)

Sometimes we go to a cocktail party fundraiser and he'll say, bemused, "All these people I don't know keep hugging me," because friends of mine he hasn't met before treat him as an extension of me. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:58 AM on March 2, 2011 [7 favorites]

I think the most important thing to communicate is how crazy you are about her. If her friends get that you think she's the bee's knees, the kitten's miaow and how everything she does is magic, they'll like you just fine.
Look cute, dress up a big more than usual, and smile a lot.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:59 AM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Stop stressing/thinking. Close friends are predisposed to like you if (1) she likes you, and (2) you like her and you treat her well. Good/polite/quiet/smart guy is fine, better than fine - people know that everyone is different, and they don't expect you and your girlfriend to be exactly the same personality.

So be yourself, but make an effort to be friendly - don't stop being yourself, just remember to be polite and friendly and sociable. And don't be afraid to bring her a drink or a snack, or some other little "I care about you" thing - obviously don't be all over her, but showing that you're thinking of her.

I'd say head to the bar, have a couple drinks with them, and then head home - if your girlfriend is cool with it and expects it, then it shouldn't be weird.

Her friends are not thinking about this in advance - and they likely are not going to analyze you or pick apart your relationship. It is awesome that you care about them liking you, and you should, but no one else is as stressed out about it as you. Yes, they are probably interested to meet you and curious, but just remember that they are people just like anyone else - and if you can have conversations and be liked by *other* people, then you can have conversations and be liked by *these* people.

Have fun!!
posted by mrs. taters at 11:01 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've avoided bringing a friend or a visiting relative for the reasons that hermitosis pointed out - it would be way too easy to just talk to them and not do what it is I should be doing - making friends with people I don't know (this has happened almost my whole life - I have a twin, an almost built-in "go to" comfort zone at social events for about 25 years).

The suggestion to try meeting some of them before the party is a good one. However, most of them are arriving from out of town. I'll see if I could try to meet up with one or two the night before, but that's also some time she gets to spend with them alone.

Taking a break to take a walk or something, just a couple minutes of quiet time, is also a great suggestion, thanks.
posted by althanis at 11:05 AM on March 2, 2011

A good excuse to get out of there is needing to pick up some ice, mixers, needing to run to the corner store or something like that.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:08 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are going to have a fun time. If you like your girlfriend and THEY like your girlfriend then you already agree you all have good taste. Have a couple of opening lines you can use to talk to her friends (how do you know my fabulous girlfriend? what do you think would be a good place to take her on a date? How big should the tattoo of her name be on my arm?). I think there is a few threads with suggestions better than mine.

And show up the next morning with all the necessary preparations to make a killer breakfast for everyone. Including a special treat for the lucky lady.
posted by saucysault at 11:10 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Something else that might help -- both in calming you down and to come across like a good guy (which again, I can't stress enough, and am pleased when others have said it -- her friends should want to see you as) -- is to, as much as possible, be a co-host for the party.

Work the bar, pass the food, be the DJ, whatever. Not only will it give you something to do but you'll seem like you're trying to make the party go well -- which presumably is something you'd want to do anyway.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:12 AM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Here are a couple tips that will help you knock it out of the park:

Ask her for a Facebook tour ahead of time. Ask her to show you photos of say, the 10 most important friends and familiarize yourself with their names. At the end of the night, say goodbye to people individually using their names. You'll be beloved if you do that- who can resist a nice pleasant new person who remembered their name?

Make sure YOU check up on her a couple times throughout the evening. She might check up on you to see if you're ok socially- you check if she's ok physically. Make sure she's drinking water in between drinks, bring her some food if she's getting too wasted or hungry, etc. Her friends will notice you paying attention to her and think you're great.

Ask her for advice on what you should wear. She'll pick an outfit her friends will think is cute, which will make them like you even more.

After you leave, send her a text a little later in the evening, maybe near bedtime, with a sweet birthday message. She'll love it- what a nice end to her night.

It sounds like you're golden personality-wise, though, actually; you seem nice and emotionally present. Remember that nobody wants you to be the life of the party in the first place- a series of pleasant, brief, connected 2-or-3 person conversations will make them all like you more than a big comedy routine anyway. Good luck, and try to have fun in your own way- not you-to-crowd, but face to face.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:16 AM on March 2, 2011 [8 favorites]

If you're ducking out on the bar-dancing (as opposed to the bar-drinking) part of the evening, why not offer to come back to her place and clean up a bit? You can then use that time to recharge and be there when she gets back, or if that would be weird, use it as an opportunity to leave some sort of birthday night topper gift for her. You can go either hoakey (flowers, balloons) or end-of-the-night helpful (bottles of water, bagel bites, pancake mix and eggs for the morning, etc).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:16 AM on March 2, 2011

One of the most freeing things to do in a relationship is to be able to relax and not worry about it when your partner is being flirty/talking to guys/exes etc.

She will appreciate that she's able to be herself without having to worry about her bf pouting in the corner.
posted by davey_darling at 11:18 AM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]

Her friends love her. Be especially sweet to her. Make sure you get her a nice card that she can put on the fridge or wherever. Be obviously affectionate to her, in whatever way is honest. Otherwise, be yourself, just, like any other time you meet new people, be your best self. and have fun. She likes you a lot; so will they.
posted by theora55 at 11:36 AM on March 2, 2011

I would say ask to see those friends the night before, even if it's just for going out for coffee(i.e. a few hours). If they're staying over at her house, she will have all night to visit with them and get her alone time with them.
posted by lizbunny at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2011

Lots of good advice in these posts. I want to stress the following:

1) Be yourself. People will like and respect a nice, honest introvert much more than a stressy, fake extrovert.

2) Please assume goodwill on the part of your girlfriend's friends. The vast, vast majority of people want to like their friends' SO's and welcome them into their circle. It's only in romantic comedies, or high school, that new SO's face a circle of wagons and a gantlet of hazing from their SO's friends. These people want to like you because they like your GF and want to like someone who means a lot to her.

3) If you don't like to dance, people will love you if you make yourself useful fixing drinks, putting out fresh bowls of chips, chatting with other non-dancers, and so on; that means the dancers have more free time to dance!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:29 PM on March 2, 2011

I used to be an introvert, but now I lean more towards your girlfriends camp.

1. All you can do is trust her. If it bugs you that she is affectionate with her male friends I don't think a talk is going to help your relationship. As someone that is the same way with my female and male friends (I'm male), It would be changing a big part in how I interact with others. While I would do it for the right person something would be off from then on. If affectionate you mean hugging and close contact but not overtly sexual I would always come back in my head to the fact that you trust her. What else is more calming than that?

2. Almost everyone is going to be on your side before the party starts. Like others have said she has primed them to like you. In fact, they will likely initiate contact with you so don't worry about her ditching you for longer periods of time. And there is nothing to say you can't come see her periodically as long as you have a big smile and act like you are having fun (And I hope you will!). This will be a good opportunity for her to introduce you to even more people. If I'm getting introduced to my friends SO, I'll go out of my way to help them succeed that night because I want my friend to be happy (If they treat them well ;) ).

3. If honest interest in others is not in your nature yet fake it. Reserve judgement for after the party but while you're there you like everyone you meet barring major faux pas by them. Think about meeting your best friend and how good that feels now keep those feelings and transfer them to that new stranger that already has positive feelings for you. Pretend that you know them well and it will show in your interactions with them. All that smiling will improve your mood. Think about how much all these people care about your girlfriend and you'll act more warmly towards them. I used to think that it all came across as phoney and dishonest but now I know better. It's healthy in the long run when the interest in all others turns genuine.

But a lot of the advice in this thread is great and some contradicts with what I said. There is no magic key and you just have to believe that the entire night will be a positive experience because nobody there is going to meet you with a bad impression.
posted by penguinkeys at 1:20 PM on March 2, 2011

Nthing lots of the advice above - be yourself, check in with her occasionally (she wants to mingle but will also want to show you off) but don't be clingy.

I particularly love the "facebook tour" idea - it just gives you a head start on names and connections - "oh, are you the one who GF went skiing with last year / was her college roommate / goes to salsa classes with?", which if you can do this, just shows that you're interested in her life and want to be a part of it.

And that her friends have probably heard all about you (including the fact that you're a bit shy and don't dance) and by default, like you already. You may find that they ask more questions than you're used to, but go with it, and if all else fails, remember that you've got one very important thing in common with all these people - you all love your GF to bits, and that's never a bad topic of conversation!

The only thing I'd add is that if you're better one-on-one, keep an eye out for other people who are looking a bit awkward and/or don't know many people there. Her cousin / next door neighbour / work colleague / best friend's newish boyfriend, for instance. They'll appreciate someone talking to them, and will like you for that if nothing else, which will also feed back to your GF.

Enjoy the night - be yourself and you'll get rave reviews...
posted by finding.perdita at 1:42 PM on March 2, 2011

My only suggestion is, if ts not going to be too much like you stuck in the corner by yourself while everyone else dances, then stay the majority of the night. Even if everyone else in the group loves to dance except you, I doubt everyone will be dancing at once, some people will love a song, some will hate it, some will need a break, some will dance all night, get thirsty, want to grab something to eat etc.

I'm pretty social, and my first birthday with my current partner was a dinner with a large group of friends. I know this can be draining for her, but she stuck it out the whole night and I think I would have felt strange if I was getting into the swing of things and she said "OK I'm off, see ya later". But that might say more about me than anything else.
posted by Admira at 1:44 PM on March 2, 2011

Oh, and as someone that was a former, "I can't-dance", type I strongly urge you to explore that. The thought of dancing terrified me and I thought everyone else would think I'm terrible and dancing at bars was for hot girls and douchebags.. But I just wasn't comfortable with my body and how it moved and like anything else, nobody cares enough about you to pass judgment on your moves out on the floor. If some do, so what? Nobody ever died from daggers out of others eyes or jealous laughter.

Do yoga or some martial art or try different sports at the Y, anything to get you moving differently. Dance at home alone. Dance with her alone. Use this fun girl as an excuse to get out of that comfort area. Even the most stuffy philosophers were huge proponents of dance. They didn't bathe much and some were grating on others in person but they thought shaking their tailfeather was an essential human right.
posted by penguinkeys at 1:47 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

a great way to make a good impression with her friends is to make sure you help her run the party - offer to make people drinks so she can socialize, tidy up a bit if it's needed, make some food for the party. if you leave the bar early, see if you can go back to her place and do the dishes. Her friends will love to see her with someone thoughtful and considerate.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:49 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

as much as possible, be a co-host for the party.

This is a great point. I like having parties and being the Birthday Girl and all, but there's also the other side of the coin, the Being The Host part. Which is frankly a bit of a chore (not that I don't like playing host for my friends). It would be major brownie points in a newish partner's favor if that person took on some of the host chores without needing to be asked. Obviously you don't have to be a cater waiter, but just like, being able to tell people where to put their coats, playing DJ, maybe replenishing the chips or proposing a beer run (at most).

Also, you seem like you're a little over-worried about not stepping on her toes and making sure she gets alone time with her friends. You're her boyfriend. Wanting to meet some of her friends one on one is not imposing. Neither is going along to the bar or whatever and not dancing - make sure she knows you're enjoying yourself, don't feel like you have to flee. Frankly I'd be slightly more put off if my partner called it a night rather than coming out with my friends and me because he might feel awkward not dancing than if s/he came with us and did not dance.
posted by Sara C. at 2:01 PM on March 2, 2011

Nthing the facebook tour. I know that the last time I tried to get someone new into my social circle (I thought we would be dating, we didn't, whatevers) I had already done something similar; simply by telling stories, he knew that I knew B though A and that I knew C from school and that D was studying for the bar and that E was recently single and blah blah blah, and since he is a shy person, this made it easier to communicate with strangers. "Oh, I hear you are going to grad school for basket weaving" or "I hear you recently got a new car," or "I hear you have some awesome stories about jenlovesponies and that time on the train...?" People enjoy talking about themselves, and giving yourself a reason and a topic for discussing them is a great way to have them enjoy you.
posted by jenlovesponies at 3:01 PM on March 2, 2011

Double nthing the "don't get drunk" theme. My best friend brought her new beau to a party last year for him to meet everyone. I was excited to meet him because I felt he, my SO and I had lots in common. He was super nervous and had a few drinks to loosen up. Next thing I knew, he was wasted and it was super uncomfortable!!

I've tried getting to know him sober now, but he's still kind of tainted after that incident. I don't know if Mr Fluffies will ever be able to be buds with him because of it. It's a shame because he seems like a super guy, but it will take a long time to get past that night (cleaning up the puke of someone you hardly know leaves a really bad first impression).

Like others have said, you sound like a good and totally normal person. Be that person, because your GF obviously likes you the way you are. Enjoy the adventure!
posted by 3fluffies at 10:47 AM on March 3, 2011

So I think I should give you guys an update, not sure who might read it though, it's been almost a month.

The night went fantastically well! I was just my usual self but I did try to make the effort to be a little bit more outgoing and engage people in conversation. Her friends all really like me, some even came right up to me and said so.

I went to the bar with them and she did her own thing while I chatted with her friends, and for the last hour or so I joined everyone on the dancefloor and we had a great time. I went back to her place and slept over (on the ground) with everyone else, brunch in the morning, and left in the afternoon.

With the physical affection thing, it did bother me a little bit, but I never let her know that night. The next night we spoke about it, and I acknowledged that everything else is working so perfectly that I'll work on getting over it, and she said she'd try to make me a little more comfortable.

Thanks for the advice everyone, it helped a lot, and I don't think the night could've gone any better!
posted by althanis at 12:50 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

That's so wonderful! Thanks so much for the update!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:56 PM on March 25, 2011

Fantastic! It sounds like you guys are pretty well matched and lucky to have found each other. : )
posted by saucysault at 7:02 PM on March 25, 2011

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