You love the same restaurants and shops. Both of you have the same gym schedule, and agree that the jerk leading your spin class was a tyrant in a past life. You love her bravado, and she likes your style. In short, you’ve finally met the perfect gal pal.
Wouldn’t it be perfect if you could hang out more often? Totally. There’s just a slight problem. Between the daily grind at work and various random commitments, you just don’t have the time. Not to mention, neither of you see enough of the men in your lives.
Wait a minute! You know what would be perfect? How about the ladies go out together, and bring the guys along!
Look Before You Leap
It might seem like a perfect scenario. Both you and your girlfriend have the same taste and interests, so it might seem likely that your guys should become fast friends. To that I say: Not so fast.
Speaking as a guy who’s been dragged into plenty of these situations, I can attest to you that it rarely works out the way you might hope. You can chalk it up to whatever you like. Whether it be the differences between Mars and Venus, or a male aggression trait that harkens back to the cavemen days, it doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is that you can’t just throw two dudes in a room and expect them to both just get along. It reminds me of that old Star Trek episode where aliens put two humans in a glass cage and then expected them to instantly start procreating. And in some ways, it’s that creepy.
Every “guy play date” situation is different, so you can’t reliably predict how it’ll turn out. But you can take some steps to assure that things go smoothly, paving the way for more future couples' outings.
Gather your Intel
The first thing you need to do before the big meet-up goes down, is to get a feel for the situation and how your guy will possibly react. This is about more than just thinking, “They both like sports. It’ll be fine.” Nothing could spoil the evening faster then putting two die-hard sports fans together, only to find out they passionately hate each other’s alma mater. (I’m a geek, so the equivalent would be the time I told another guy that I thought Stargate:SG-1 was a ridiculous show. It was all downhill from there.)
Put social media to use, and start getting some additional information on your new BFF’s guy right away. No doubt, you and her are already Facebook friends. Start right away by combing through photos, especially of the two of them together, looking for similarities between him and your guy. Make your way over to his profile, and whatever other social media outlets they have in common. You basically want to gather interests and compare his with those of your man.
Don’t think of it as spying. The information is all readily available, right there at your fingertips. Think of it more like the little pamphlets you get at a horse race so that you can study-up before placing any bets.
If you’re really crafty, you might even find a convenient way to meet up alone with the two of them for a quick lunch or cocktail. It's the perfect way gauge for yourself if your guy will take to him, or if it’ll be an oil and water situation.
The Main Event
I’ve always heard that going to the movies on a first date is bad idea, mainly because it limits most communication or sharing - other than popcorn - going on for the first two hours. This however, is the perfect setting for your first foursome adventure. You have a few minutes before the movie to get everyone acquainted, and graciously offer them your snacks. During the movie everyone gradually settles into the notion that you’re hanging out together. Afterwards, you’ll all have the movie (and trailers) that you just watched as an instant conversation starter over drinks.
Which brings up another useful tool: drinks. They call it ‘social lubricant’ for a reason. I’m just saying.
I often find that you can get a lot of 'guy' conversation mileage from talking about various smartphone apps, especially when the other guy starts checking his phone rather regularly. Also, the couples' equation is often different when you're parents and, if you're lucky, just talking about parenting can help bridge the gap between guys.
Don't Push It
There will come a point where everyone is as comfortable as they're going to get, and small talk can only take you so far. If both guys don’t necessarily ‘click’, but seem agreeable, it’s probably okay to keep the outing going for a while longer. Enjoy yourself, but keep an eye on things. However, if it’s getting awkward or uncomfortable in any way, then it's time to plan your exit strategy and attempt leave while the everything is still on a relative high note.
During the course of the evening, or even afterwards, you must resist the urge to talk too much about your friend’s guy. He might actually be magically terrific, but by talking him up too much you run the risk of either overselling him to your guy, or worse, make your man feel like he’s not as perfect as this Mr. Awesome that you can’t stop gushing about.
[I hope this isn’t reading like some article on animal husbandry. Hmm. Better just keep going, I think I’m getting to the conclusion.]
Cut Your Losses
Let’s face it. The other guy might end up being lame. Hell, your guy might end up being the lame one. It doesn’t mean that the relationship with your new friend is completely cursed. You should still try to carve out time to hang together. Along the way, in the right setting, you might occasionally even get the guys together, or at the very least used to each other’s presence.
Just remember, you gave it a shot. And the whole situation might just remind you that you’ve got a wonderful guy for agreeing to be dragged along, on one, if not many, awkward couples' dates.