There’s a saying that visitors who overstay their welcome start smelling like dead fish, in other words social calls come with an unspoken time limit and the guest’s job is to know when it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve also learned these are solid words to live by when introducing your new sweetie pie to the kids for the first time.
Getting kids and the new girlfriend’s family together can rack a nerve quicker than an IRS audit. Our minds get carried away leading up to the fateful gathering “What kind of kids does she have”? “Will our daughters get along?” “Will her son like me or even acknowledge that I’m there?” And if that isn’t enough there is timing to think about, make it too early in the relationship and you might find yourself explaining what happened to the nice lady.
But meeting dad’s new girlfriend is just as stressful and way more awkward for the kids. Let’s face it, she ain’t mom and if they’re old enough to really understand what’s going on their emotional side usually overtakes their rational one putting them in a zombie-like state as they try to figure out how to deal with all of it. Similar to anything else first impressions are the ones that last and I believe the first time the gang gets together a little planning will go a long way.
- Short – keep it under an hour. That way you’re sure never to overkill the moment by dragging it out (remember the dead fish analogy).
- Public – stay away from meeting at somebody’s home. Go with the park or maybe the mall, should things go sideways you’ve got distractions and if necessary escape routes. My kids met the Queen and her kids after church one Sunday morning and we walked to our cars together – it’s a really big parking lot.
- Easy – keep away from meals, movies, sporting events or other drawn out activities. Not only do most of these take you past the hour limit it opens up the group to choices and when kids have to make choices drama routinely follows.
First introductions should be little more than casual get-to-knows and putting names to faces, but you’ll discover it will make the next get-together much more relaxed and far more enjoyable.