The Guysexual’s Guide to the Inner Circle

The Guysexual’s Guide to the Inner Circle

10 Ways To Win His Friends …And How Not to Lose Them!

You’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks, and have finally reached the most important milestone of them all – meeting his friends.

A guy’s friends are the yin to his yang. They complete his sentences; his shortcomings (if any, but don’t tell them) and most importantly, they complete him. They could be his Wolf Pack, his Breakfast Club or his posse of Plastics from Mean Girls, but his gang will always be the trump card that decides whether the two of you walk down the aisle or you walk out shame-faced, all alone (so they can set him up with their more lovable, more attractive, more accomplished gay friend from work).  Sounds intimidating?

Don’t break out into nervous sweats just yet. If you play your cards right and follow these 10 steps, you’ll be a part of their inner circle in no time:

1. Make an effort to know them

Think you are nervous about meeting the gang? The truth is they are equally nervous to meet you too. Keep it simple and get to know them as people first, his friends later. Make eye contact (but don’t stare), smile and laugh (only when someone makes a joke) and chat (but not only about yourself) and you’ll do just fine.

Play the field with small talk.

‘Where did you get that jacket?’

‘Is that bracelet from Vietnam?’

‘Those shoes are lovely, where are they from?’

‘I heard you love baking!’

‘Which college did you attend?’

And so on.

Did you know that getting to know someone is the easiest way to make friends?

Well, now you do.

2. But don’t ask too many personal questions

 Know where to stop with the questions. If they seem to be getting uncomfortable at any point, it’s probably because you are asking them how they lost their virginity when they were 15 years old. You don’t want your conversation starter to be a relationship ender, do you? Don’t know where to begin? Here are some questions you can avoid:

  • Why would you support <insert name of political leader> anyway?
  • So I heard about this one time you went skinny dipping in the Maldives, what was that like?
  • I heard you were recently cheated on. Are you sure you are okay?
  • How can you not believe in God?

Keep it simple, keep it crisp, and keep it to the point where you don’t jokingly ask them about their criminal records. Because once you do, there’s no going back from finding out that you are talking to someone who went to jail for tax evasion — and here, ‘How did that go?’ is hardly the appropriate conversation starter, even if you are three mojitos and a kamikaze shot down.

3. Keep the PDA in check

It’s difficult to root for a romance when it’s slobbering 20 inches away from your face. Sure, you want his friends to know how much you love him, but they already know — that’s why you are meeting them, aren’t you?

Keep the PDA to a bare minimum, including the nicknames. Calling each other Honeyboo and Mr Cutiekins in front of everyone will never be cute.

Quick tip: Keep the affection PG-13 when you are out with other people. You can always turn up the dials to R-Rated back home in the bedroom.

4. And the drinking too

While a drink just before you meet a group of people can calm your nerves, it’s best not to go for the title of being the ‘most drunk person in the room’. After all, while chugging two pints of beer in 20 seconds might impress his friends, trashing the bathroom with the contents of your stomach will not.

A bad reputation is worse than a bad hangover, and five drinks down, you might end up making vacation plans with people who probably never want to see you again.

5. Work that witty banter

You’ve had a couple of drinks, and you are feeling roguishly witty. Are you feeling that the base is building up like AIB’s Roast? Hold those horses; this is not network television.

Throw in the compliments every once in a while: ‘That’s a great watch.’ Or ‘I’ve never seen anyone carry off a dress so well.’ You have great cheekbones. Your sense of humour is out of this world (okay, not so much).

Keep the banter going at a nice tempo, as if they were the lyrics of a song from the Sound Of Music soundtrack. You don’t want your audience of 10 to turn into a party of one.

6. But don’t get insulting

In a fit of alcohol-induced euphoria, you might be tempted to follow your standup routine with jokes at your date’s expense. High off your success in the pop culture department, don’t fall for the bait, even if everyone insists that they want to see you roast your romantic half. Save the over sharing for your therapist. There’s a thin line between ‘Oh-my-god-you-are-the-coolest!’ and ‘Excuse-me-what-did-you-just-say-to-me?’

Instead, ask them for stories with punch lines about him. That way, you get to be a part of the gang and don’t need to do damage control. Everybody loves you just the same.

7. Don’t overanalyse his gay friends

No, Kenny with the green polo shirt is not trying to steal your boyfriend away from you. So don’t even get there, because the only place you’ll be going from here is out of your boyfriend’s life.

8. Don’t get too attached either

Natasha loves Board Game Nights. Rajeev likes Guacamole. Sam loves Happy Hours.

Just like you do! As the drinks add up, so will the compliments (and frequent reminders) on how ‘you are the one he should end up with! I call dibs on being the Best Man!’ But hey, don’t let the flattery get to you.

Sure, there’s a one off chance that you might end up liking the friends more than you should, but remember, they are his friends. Your future here is just as uncertain as Rajeev’s guacamole recipe.

At the end of the day, if this relationship doesn’t work out, those promised board game nights (with salsa and guacamole dip) would mysteriously cease to exist, just like your presence in the gang.

9. Be charming

Put on your best dress shirt; pair it with great-fitting chinos, and pepper it up with cologne and a warm smile. You are halfway there already.

Now get them to meet you there (and just be on time).

10. But be yourself

I’ve said it before and I will say it again — while a billboard-sized version of yourself can seem very intriguing, it’s best to stick to what you know best.

Being yourself. Remember how your boyfriend fell in love with all your quirks, laughs at all your silly jokes and adores the way your eyes crinkle when you tell stories? That’s the reason why you are meeting the friends.

Now show them why.

— Illustration courtesy Amrai Dua

Aniruddha Mahale