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If you’re dating, odds are your initial dates are a two-person event — you and your date out for dinner or some other activity. As time goes on, though, you probably have a very reasonable desire to introduce your partner to your friends or family. After all, socializing in a larger group is a lot of fun! Whether you know it consciously or not, you’re probably also sensitive to how your friends react to someone you’re dating. Basically, do they like him or her?
In an article on PsychologyToday.com, Wendy Patrick explores this dynamic. “As the relationship evolves and becomes more meaningful and enjoyable, there is a growing desire to integrate a partner into other aspects of life. This includes introductions to friends and family — which can range from awkward to awesome — depending on how the partners met, where they live, what they do, and a host of other factors.”
If you have good friends or get along well with your family, then you probably stand to benefit from their input. After all, says Patrick, “Family members are invested in your health and happiness, and the fitness of your relationships by extension. They are thrilled to see you with a ‘good match’ who brings out the best in you, and will cheer both of you on as an investment in your future. Good friends feel and behave the same way, for the same reasons. When friends and family disapprove of your relational choices, however, they are not as inclined to offer unconditional support.”
Should you continue a relationship even if your friends or family are pointing out some red flags? There’s no easy answer to that question but it’s definitely one that should not only be asked but explored in-depth. For a further discussion of the question, see Patrick’s article here.