- Introducing your significant other to your coworkers can be daunting.
- You should agree with your partner on what to call each other, a couples counselor told Business Insider.
- Here are seven tips for introducing your significant other to your coworkers.
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When you have a new job, meeting all your new coworkers can be a challenging enough task.
If you have a significant other, the next big step for your office relationships is to bring your personal and professional lives together by introducing your partner to your fellow employees.
This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you’re concerned about personalities clashing or that you’ll introduce somebody the wrong way. But don’t freak out – it can be done if you think a few things out ahead of time.
We asked marriage therapist and couples counselor Marni Feuerman what to do when introducing your significant other to coworkers.
Here’s her best advice.
Be honest with your partner beforehand
Before you bring your significant other in contact with your coworkers, think long and hard if there’s anything your partner should know beforehand that might upset them if they found out about it later. Then, be completely transparent about it.
“For example, if you have a history (with one of your coworkers) or used to date one of them,” Feuerman told Business Insider. “It’s better to head this off at the pass by being forthcoming, even though this is an uncomfortable conversation. There’s no need to divulge excessive details. Just offer a ‘heads up’ kind of courtesy.”
Don’t make the introduction the main event
To keep the pressure off, don’t plan a specific event around introducing your significant other to your team.
“Ideally, the introductions will take place at a holiday party or time when many people will be introducing their significant others as well,” Feuerman said. “If you are out somewhere and it happens randomly, be casual about it.”
Agree on what to call each other
Are the two of you just dating? Are you officially an item with “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” titles? Decide on this ahead of time so you’re not put on the spot when it comes time for introductions.
“You might even want to forgo titles altogether,” she said. “Be sure to put your significant other’s feelings first, though.”
For example, if introducing your partner as “my friend Mike” instead of “my boyfriend Mike” would upset him, work it out beforehand.
“If you both purposely wish to keep your relationship status under wraps for some reason, that’s fine too,” Dr. Feuerman said. “Just make sure you both agree.”
Prioritise the higher-ups first
When you’re making introductions, and, say, your entire team is present, show deference to your boss and other higher-ups by introducing them to your partner first.
“Avoid gender bias with introductions despite that this has been done historically,” Feuerman said.
If a coworker is on an equal level as you, then start with your significant other. For example: “Jane, I’d like you to meet John, who works in the cubicle next to mine. John, this is my wife, Jane.”
Don’t wait to do the introductions
Try to get the introductions done right away. Otherwise, it can be awkward, with your partner standing next to you not knowing what to say or do (and your coworkers feeling likewise).
You might feel like delaying if you’ve forgotten someone’s name, but it’s better to own up to it.
“Apologise and let them know you forgot their name,” Feuerman said. “Alternatively, you can say to the coworker, ‘This is my husband, Sam,’ and hope that the coworker offers up their name at that point. If not, start talking about something else right away.”
Look for common ground
As etiquette expert Emily Post once advised, when introducing two people – like your partner and a coworker – focus on a commonality, if possible, to facilitate conversation and connection.
“A good tip is to offer up something like a common interest you know about them both,” Feuerman said. “For instance, ‘Dan, this is Mary from accounting. Mary, this is my partner, Dan. You both love the Yankees!'”
Don’t get too worked up about the whole thing
Try not to get too uptight or anxious about new introductions. Most people behave just fine in these scenarios, she said.
“We tend to make how things are going to go worse in our heads than they actually turn out. And don’t get upset at your significant other if they forget names or need them repeated. It’s hard for a lot of people to remember names.”
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