Reducing Relationship Stress During Group Activities

Happy couple laughing

Group activities like family gatherings, work parties and parties with friends can be stressful for couples. What do you wear? What do you say? Staying relaxed and dressing appropriately can take you far. Smiling, chatting and helping out, when you can, are also important.

Group Activities And Relationships

Here we will take a look at some of the different stressors and how to combat them.

  • Feeling like you don't fit in.

Keep in mind that the person you are with invited you because they are proud of you and want to show you, and your relationship, off to their friends and family. They feel comfortable enough with who you are, and what you represent, to introduce you to their inner circle. Remember this at the next function you and your significant other attend since it will go a long way in relieving any tension you may feel.

  • At a loss for words.

Not knowing what to say is a common feeling at social events. Combat this by making small talk. Talk about the weather, the host's garden, pets, children, etc. And remember to stay away from any religious or political talk.

  • Nobody will like me.

Yes, they will. Your significant other likes you enough to introduce you to their inner circle of friends and family, so you have every reason to feel comfortable. And it stands to reason that someone in the group will like you too. Try to relax and go with the flow. This is the best way to let your personality shine, and that is key in getting folks to like you.

At Family Gatherings

Couple sitting together

Family gatherings are a great place to load up on information about your significant other while enjoying the antics, and sometimes hysterics, that usually accompany a family gathering. Here are some factors you need to know:

This is extremely important at a family gathering, especially if you have visions of being Mr. or Mrs. So-in-So. Ladies, leave the revealing stuff for a night on the town, and opt instead for something classic, like slacks, jeans or a nice summer dress. Guys, khakis, or jeans are fine as long as everything is clean and neatly pressed.

  • Pay attention to Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad are people too, so there's no need to feel nervous around them. If all else fails or the conversation begins to lag, ask them questions about your significant other's childhood. For example, what was their personality like, or when did he/she first begin to talk? No matter how old, parents love talking about their children, and relish any opportunity to do so.

  • Pitch in.

Manners win you lots and lots of brownie points, so don't hesitate to help set the table, open a bottle of wine, and help to dry the dishes. This is especially helpful if any former significant others visited in the past and didn't pitch in. That notwithstanding, manners never count against you.

At A Party

Parties can be especially daunting regardless of whether a mate is there or not. Here's how to maximize your fun quotient while minimizing your stress levels.

  • Feel good.

High self-esteem is very important at a party. Get it by hitting the gym, doing a few push-ups, or taking a thirty minute stroll around the block. Any kind of exercise will get your endorphins flowing and this alone may put you in a party-down kind of mood.

  • Do not stick like glue to your partner.

When someone walks over to ask if you'd like to see the view, smile at your partner and say you'll only be a minute. If beers need to be moved from the garage freezer to the kitchen, then go help. This gives you and your partner some breathing room, allows you to connect with anyone you haven't seen in a while, and does wonders to dissipate feelings of nervousness. Not unlike being on a job interview, once you are alone, your brain will automatically kick into survival mode and you'll be shaking hands and making jokes in no time.

  • Establish a code.

Before you even get to the party, establish a signal with your partner that tells them you are in distress and need help pronto. Whether it's smoothing an eyebrow, or rubbing your collarbone, doing this ensures that you will never have to see his old college buddy's, gulp, vintage record collection again. Ever.

Work Functions

Your mate may be especially nervous in attending a work function, so being as calm, cool and collected as possible will help both of you tremendously. Here are some quick tips to nail the social work function.

  • Dress appropriately.
  • Watch your alcohol intake.
  • If you feel incredibly gauche about the wine, silverware, scenery, etc., ask the boss. Supervisors and bosses are usually great at explaining things, and they tend to value brave people that ask questions. Faking it never looks good. Smile and say "wine is so confusing at times, what's the best way to choose one?" Or, "this view is magnificent, but I can't seem to be able to recall the name of that mountain?" Do this, and you and your significant other, to quote a phrase, will be in like Flint.

Putting It All Together

Regardless of the group activity and relationship, always try to remain confident. You are there because you are worthy of being there. Smile and feel good about yourself. You are on your way to having a great time.

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Reducing Relationship Stress During Group Activities