At what point in your relationship should your significant other invite you to family and friend events like cookouts and graduations?
Damon says: It varies. There are some people who will take you to a family cookout for a second date and others who will wait months to see if you can dance amid that potential fire.
People open those doors when they’re ready to open you up to that part of their world. They have to be comfortable with the situation and/or believe that you can handle everything that comes with bringing you into the fold.
Considering the attention and flurry of questions that are bound to come their way when they show up at the door, it’s not a horrible idea to be prudent when deciding to introduce significant others to family and friends. I say this from experience.
I once had a family member light into a girlfriend of mine for something that had nothing to do with the girlfriend whatsoever. It wasn’t pretty. But she handled it relatively well. If I hadn’t thought that she could, she wouldn’t have been in that position.
That’s the approach that I think is best with friends or family: Know that you and your significant other can handle whatever comes your way with grace.
I will say this, though: If you’re in a committed relationship, and you’re not spending time around his/her family or friends with any regularity, something isn’t right. I would speak to it in a subtle manner, so as not to overstep your bounds, to see what you can possibly glean about the situation.
Pamela says: Meeting the family is no joke. Families are not for the faint of heart. Family gatherings are not a place to bring summer flings.
You need to decide how serious you are about someone before you bring them around Mom, Dad and your weird aunt who maaaaybe drinks too much and says inappropriate things.
Do you think this person is still going to be around in a year? If not, get ready for “What happened to that girl you brought over here last year? What was her name? What happened? Are you ever going to settle down?”
Remember that families can be critical; you’re their baby. Mom might size your girl up like nobody’s business in the five minutes it takes your date to refill a glass of lemonade in the kitchen. Dad might pepper your guy with questions and suspicious looks while innocently eating a brat.
You have to be comfortable enough with your date to say, You have to make sure there are at least two people in your family who are going to be really friendly (not just “nice to meet you” friendly) and talk to your date during this summer event. Meeting someone else’s family can be overwhelming — and terrifying.
Is it worth the stress for you, your date and everyone else? If the answer is yes, invite them. If it’s no, go to the event and enjoy your family on your own.
To reach Pamela and Damon, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.