How to Merge Different Friend Groups (without the Awkwardness)
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
We all have a variety of friends with histories that can span anywhere from our childhood to the yoga class we took last week. It’s only natural that if we love our friends, we want them to love each other too. They’re also bound to cross paths whether it be at our birthday party, a celebratory event, or just our standing Friday happy hour. So it pays to learn how to properly introduce them. [Click here to watch the video, instead!]
Here are our 4 tips to help you merge your different friend groups (without the awkwardness).
1. Prep the “outsider” friend.
To avoid any awkward moments, pull your friend aside before the group hang and let her in on things she may need to know about the group. This could include anything from the group’s sense of humor to their habits and even their political beliefs.
You'll want to avoid "downloading" her on anything negative, including gossip or negative opinions, especially if the goal is to prime the ladies to actually enjoy each other.
Sure, your friend should get to know the others on her own terms, but providing context can help put her at ease in an unfamiliar setting and potentially avoid uncomfortable interactions.
2. Remember: they're called “inside jokes” for a reason.
Unless you’re in on the joke, you won’t get it. Try to stick to common ground in your conversations, so no one feels left out.
Now, of course it's sometimes inevitable to bring up a subject or memory that only a few people can relate to, and that's fine. The key is to 1. not discuss it for too long (because others have to listen an aren't able to fully participate) and 2. bring others in. For example, you may say to the "outside friend", "Oh, we're talking about Jennifer, a girl we were friends with in college. You'd love her. She was so wild!"
In the meantime, think about topics everyone is familiar with or interested in, and make an effort to discuss those things instead.
3. Play Friend Matchmaker. Help your friends start conversations by making connections for them. Try something like “Hey Jessie, how is your new puppy? You know, Natalie just adopted a dog, too.” These kinds of introductions help your friends feel more familiar with one another without needing you to guide them through the whole hangout.
This may require a little intentional think time before your gathering. What connections do you friends have that they may not know? How can you mention them either before or during the event? This helps to ease any tension or anxiety, and it contributes to an overall feeling of belonging, which is the goal!
4. Think beyond the event. You want to stoke the flames of these blossoming friendships, so don’t abandon the fire now once the night comes to a close.
After you hang out, individually offer your friends words of encouragement via text to get them curious about each other. Say something like, “Hey Olivia, Whitney thought you were so funny last night. We need to do that again soon!” Research tells us that we tend to like people who like us. If your friends express an interest in one another, let them know. It helps to foster an affection for each other, which only makes for subsequent successful hangouts.
The most important tip: don’t stress out, and enjoy yourself! You have different friends for a reason, and they may not all vibe with one another. These tips are here to help give you a solid starting point when introducing friends, and if they hit it off, even better.
While it might be awkward at first, there are times when merging your friend groups is just inevitable. Consider bachelorette parties, holiday gatherings, and other milestone festivities. But you don't have to dread introductions. With a little preparation, it can be an incredible experience... for everyone.
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