They pulled your hair, kicked your shins and battered you over the head with cushions because of ‘which TV channel is the best’ drama. Now, you WhatsApp them multiple times a day and really value their opinion. So, when it comes to your siblings meeting your new boyfriend or girlfriend, you understandably get nervous.
But think of this encounter as a gateway to the rest of your family. ‘There’s a lot less weight on this, because meeting a brother or sister isn’t the same pressure as parents,’ relationship coach Clayton Olson, who has 15 years of experience in the world of social dynamics, tells HuffPost UK. ‘Parents are likely to ask: “Where is this going?” Whereas siblings tend to be more concerned about: “Are they treating you well?” - if “yes,” then “great.” ’
Here’s how you’ll know that your romance is ready for this (mini) milestone.
Your partner asks about them
According to Jessica Elizabeth Opert, a relationship coach who specialises in helping women to navigate modern love and dating, if your partner starts to make inquiries about your siblings’ well-being and what they’ve been up to, it’s a sign they’re getting curious about your life. She says that questions like: “How did your sister do on that job interview?” Or: “Your brother sounds like a lot of fun” are definite signals.
‘These inquiries are a clear acknowledgment that you’re part of a wider social circle - and that they are ready to move beyond the world of just the two of you,’ she says.
You want it to happen
There are signs to watch out for that indicate that you’re getting more serious. Tinder’s been zapped off your phone and you speak to them on the daily, for starters.
‘Think, are you ready to introduce your siblings to your partner, rather than looking to see if they are ready?’ Olson says. ‘There is more risk involved for the one introducing their family - and I’d imagine you should think about whether it’s worth the time investment and inevitable conversations. If you’re really questioning whether you should introduce them to your siblings, then the answer is probably a ‘no.’ ’
You’re being honest with each other
‘If you’re starting to get serious with someone, then being clear with communication is paramount,’ says Olson. She reckons that, if you’re at a point in the relationship where you’re considering introducing them to your siblings, then you need to be in a place where there’s open dialogue. This translates to being straight and saying that you’d love for them to meet your brother because you think they’d get along. If your partner isn’t enthusiastic or his/her response is hollow, then maybe it’s too soon.
You’ve been on a long weekend away
One of the first signs that a relationship can make it for the long haul is how well you and your partner can handle a weekend away from your comfort zone. Before embarking on a plane trip (deciding you hate each other in another country is painful), go somewhere that’s a short drive away. How you get along in the car can be even more revealing about your compatibility than fancy meals out - if you can’t read Google Maps and they’ve got road rage, it will get... interesting.
Choose Europcar for a weekend car hire – they’ll drop off a rental car kitted out with the latest tech at a convenient time and pick it up again when it suits you. First car getaway as a couple a success? Great. Next time, head to your sister’s house for the big meet.
They mention their siblings
If you suddenly start hearing a lot about what your significant other’s brothers and sisters are up to, you’re being tacitly invited to share in their family dynamic. ‘Confiding concerns they have or just info about the inner workings of their siblings’ lives - once they begin to open up about family, it’s typically a conscious or unconscious move towards wanting you to meet them and your partner to meet yours,’ Opert says.
They and your siblings share interests
‘If you’re talking about your siblings’ awesome qualities, hobbies or career and your partner responds in a way that sounds welcoming or affirming - and remarks that they’re into X, Y or Z, too, it might be a good time to make an introduction,’ Olson says.
You see a lot of one another
Schedules starting to blur together? Gone beyond the Friday night date into seeing each other a few times a week as standard? Planning getaways and road trips together? Then it’s time.