You know, often in this forum we concentrate exclusively on what we're dong wrong. Cathartic and introspective but not irrationally exuberant; in fact, kind of a bummer at times. Today, I'd like to bring up a couple of things that are going right and made me irrationally exuberant.
Many of you probably already know that I've started up with somebody new to poly. Over the weekend, I had invited her over for dinner. A good time was had by all. I'd like to share a couple of tips and ideas on what went right.
1. Do a community event. Poly to me is very community-oriented and I think my pod does a good job selling it. We're able to share jokes, pieces of our communal history, and the poly-newcomer can see something that's positive, accepting, and reinforcing. What can you do to strike connection between others?
2. Do try to cook. You know, I think food brings people together. Being able to share a meal is a real plus. What can you do to give a part of yourself – your time, your talent, your effort - to everybody?
3. Do try to introduce your partners and their metamours and your “space”. Although it wasn't the first time we've all been together before, it was nice to be in our “space” - at home – and to bring everyone together. That also gave the new person a chance to see how we lived. What can you do to get all interested parties into a shared space, to spend a few hours together, sit together, and to get to know each other better?
4. Do go out of your way to share common interests. One of the cool things that happened was that PG knew that my date liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so he lent her his 8th Season comic books. I thought that was really cool. A metamour making a gesture like that sets the right tone. What can you do to go out of your way to feel somebody more accepted?
5. Do give your partners space to snuggle and be a couple. The gracious goddess that she is, PF stepped away later in the evening so my date and I could have a few minutes together at the close of the evening. She went upstairs and we were able to noodle-around a bit and connect privately for a few minutes. What can you do to foster connections?
6. Do try to set expectations. Admittedly, my primary needed some clarifications on where the night was going to go before it started. PF had asked for an understanding on where she should be later in the evening, or, if there were going to be separate sleeping arrangements. That one took a little while for me to come around to because I wanted the evening to be kind of “organic” and just see where it went, but if we had gone that route, PF could have felt out of place. Kind of a 3rd wheel. She needed that kind of expectation set. What can you do to communicate your expectations to your partner(s) in advance so that everybody is on the same page?
7. Do follow-up with an emotional check-in. This morning, PF had taken it upon herself to text a follow-through with my date to see if she had any questions, and just make sure it went okay for her, too. What I got was a text back about how great my primary is, and how accepting the whole household was, and what a fun time was had. It was awesome. What can you do to lay-down bridges and and follow-up on people's emotional states?
8. Do try to engage poly. We all talked a little bit about the poly lifestyle; my friend is, in fact, reading “The Ethical Slut” - it's great. She's going out of her way to ask questions as somebody new to all of this, and is making a genuine effort to learn more about it. If you're new to poly, consider how you can engage it, learn more about it, at least to some extent that makes you comfortable.
It's the little things that count. What happened the other night was a bunch of little things that added up into one big ball of a pleasant evening for all. My hats-off to my awesome partners and friends...
... and by the way, finding a new partner whose interested in learning about poly and is open minded, smart, charming, and literate.... It is so... choice. If you have the means, I'd highly recommend picking one up. :)