Show Up: Do your very best to not be that girlfriend, the one who says no to all the parties and weekend trips. You can’t expect your boo’s friends to like you if you don’t put in the very minimal effort of showing your face. It might be awkward the first few times you join in on the group outings, but the discomfort will go away with time. If you’re nervous about the idea of being all your SO’s friends at once, plan the get-together yourself. Have them over to your place or pick a bar you’re familiar with. Feeling like you’re on home turf will you put you at ease and make the socialising a bit easier.
Accept them the way they are: Sure, they might do bizarre things and have a dark sense of humour that you just don’t get, but instead of attaching labels to all that, take it as it comes. Social gatherings will suddenly become much more tolerable, and you might be surprised to find some characteristics in them that you enjoy. Of course, this all goes out the window if they’re being rude to you, or acting like racist or sexist assholes—then the issue is why your partner is friends with them in the first place.
Don’t worry too much about making an impression: It might be your first instinct to be on your best behaviour when you’re with them. You want to make a good impression, right? You may think that censoring yourself will do the trick, but it’s not going to get you anywhere. Most of the time, when you think you’re coming off as polite, you just appear inauthentic to those who don’t know you all that well. Joke around with them the same way you do with your own crew. If they don’t pick up on your humour right away, they’ll gradually warm up to it.
Stop telling yourself that they don’t like you: Have they said that to you before to your face? Or to your SO? OK then, don’t make up those stories in your head. You’ll only drive yourself crazy and eventually convince yourself that everyone hates you. (They don’t.) You’ll have this mental block that makes it impossible to have a good time together. Be confident in your personality. Remember that there are a lot of things your partner likes about you, so it won’t take long for their friends to also uncover the good stuff.
Don’t pressurise yourself to be best friends with them: Becoming besties with the people in your partner’s life isn’t a deal breaker for your relationship. Sure, it would be nice if you texted each other all the time and had inside jokes, but it’s not necessary. The second you let go of that image in your head, you create space for a genuine friendship to grow between you guys.
Don’t run to them when you have a fight with your beau: Save the tears and trash talk for your own friends. If you get your partner’s friends involved, things could get messy. When you’re in the middle of a fight, you’re bound to say some things that you might regret later—and that’s OK. You just don’t want them to fall on the wrong ears. Because their allegiance isn’t to you, you might get into a disagreement over whose fault it really is, and suddenly your SO won’t be the only one you’re in a fight with.
Bring your friends over too sometimes: I find this to be the best strategy for feeling comfortable with your partner’s gang. Your friends will end up being the best buffers, and they’ll make you feel at ease no matter what the situation is. Having your group around will help you bring out your true self too, so the next time you’re flying solo, you’ll be more comfortable acting naturally around your SO’s buddies.