Over the weekend, I hit up a going-away party for a close friend. Going-away parties really let you know who your buddies are and, though it's of the bittersweet variety, are tons of fun. They are not, however, a traditionally great time to introduce a new squeeze (even if it does offer a certain effective symmetry). But a pair of new friends (a guy and a gal) were brought to the show nonetheless, and both got solid Bs (yep, we judged them). This is what you can do to ace your own meet-the-friends test:
1. Show up
A real smart guy once said that 90% of cheerleading camp is getting there with your pom-poms. That guy was a real Alfred Einstein, because actually caring enough to clear schedule space is a biggie.
2. Find common ground
The battle to win these bozos over begins with a single mutual interest. Don't overdo it, though. I got sucked into a running conversation about early '80s punk rock just because I really like Social Distortion on Saturday.
3. Know one thing about a few people
No one is ever going to call you on the phrase "BLANK has told me so much about you…" But, just in case, following that line up with a question about something that person is into is a great tactic. It appears people really do like talking about themselves.
4. Say a person's name
If Ryan Gosling in Lars And The Real Girl taught us anything, it's that a person's most favorite sound is their own name. Use someone's name liberally, and they will think you're a real Sammi Sweetheart (though less of a wet blanket).
5. Don't argue
I understand that you may have some strongly-held opinions, and that at least one of your new squeeze's friends is sure to be a raging goober or a blithering assrod, but if the convo takes a hard swing out of friendly and into fist-y territory, you may be on the outs forever.
6. Be into your date
Your style of dating may not involve things like compliments, PDAs or being really nice. Still. Behave with a little bit of tenderness and, I don't know, have really nice things to say about your date, and periodically swing by to see what he/she may be up to.
7. Be a good sport
This goes with item #1 but, in general, go with the flow. I understand that you may not like sushi on grounds of dolphin friendliness (which I'm also against), but be a sport, be a pal, play Pictionary and be nice about it.
None of this is to suggest that you should be a milky milquetoast or someone other than yourself. Unless you're a spoiled, cold, pushy, selfish, grumpy sociopath who can't be bothered with other people's stuff. In that case, feel free to be someone other than yourself, for the rest of your life.
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