You met a girl, and now it’s time to bring her home to meet the fam. That’s what it can feel like when you’re starting to connect with a vina and you want her to join the friend group you’ve already built. Rather than worry about it, use these guidelines to help you navigate. You’ll find that an integrated group is not as far off as it seems!
KEEP IT CHILL
No one is at their best when they’re in a stressful or high-stakes situation, and you want your vinas to see each other when they’re the most comfortable. Organize a casual outing, like bar trivia or a movie, that everyone can enjoy and that takes the attention off the new friend-old friends dynamic. Or, you could plan a party that includes both your existing friend group, your new vina, and other friends and acquaintances so that everyone can meet in a relaxed environment with minimal pressure.
DEFER TO HER
Remember, your new vina doesn’t know your other friends, and you are her only connection to this group. Plan an activity for the group that you know your new vina will enjoy, and during conversation, be sensitive to your new vina’s participation and comfort level with what’s going on. If she’s quiet, try to find ways to bring up topics she cares about, or a relevant story she told you on a previous date and ask if she could share it again. If your friends share an inside joke, clue her in. At the same time, make sure your friend group doesn’t think you’re becoming a different person or not paying attention to them. It’s a delicate balance, but careful listening and staying sensitive to subtle group dynamics will help you offset tension and nurture positive connections.
Speaking of connections, it’s your job to find as many as you can between your new vina and your existing friend group. You don’t necessarily have to call attention to all the similarities you notice, but if you can get your new vina talking to one of your previous friends about an activity they both love, you’ll be starting a friendship between the two of them that’s separate from your relationship with either.
BE UP FRONT
Honesty is always the most solid relationship strategy. It’s best to introduce your new vina to your friend group before they actually meet her. Let them know that you’ve been enjoying your time with her and you want to invite her to a group get-together. Likewise, let your new vina know that you have some other friends you think she’d like and that it’d be fun for you all to go out together sometime. Give her a feel for how close-knit your group is so she isn’t surprised if she feels a little out of place. Always stay positive, but if things don’t seem to be working out well, be honest about that too, and make sure all your vinas know how much you care for them.
Good luck! If you have other good strategies to integrate new vinas into a friend group, please share in the comments!
(Featured Image via @Thewhitepepper)