9 Tips for Introducing Your Partner to Your Favorite Hobbies
Our favorite hobbies can often be what takes us out of our relationships. Your participation in the local adult soccer league gives you a chance to stretch those athletic muscles separate from gym dates with bae. Your love of watercolors inspires you to kiss them goodbye and go to an art class once a week. Your interest in dogs or bartending or travel is something you obsess over with like-minded pals, even when your partner doesn’t share in it. And it’s totally cool. But there may come a day that you want your significant other to share your passion with you. However, inviting them to join you can be tricky: You don’t want to be condescending or make them feel silly. Keep reading for experts’ tips on how to effectively loop bae into your hobbies, and before you know it, they may be just as hooked as you are.
1. Consider your partner’s personality. “Finding the right approach to spike your S.O.’s interest in something you’re fond of largely depends on their personality,” advises Heather Ebert, WhatsYourPrice dating and relationship expert. “If you don’t want to be condescending, you should be considerate of how they communicate, what forms of affirmation they appreciate, and how they are motivated to do something.” Being mindful of all of these factors will help ensure that your sweetie doesn’t feel patronized or inadequate when you start suggesting that they learn more about something you enjoy.
2. Find a connection. You have one set of personal interests and passions, and your S.O. has another. Somewhere between the two, there’s overlap, whether in terms of skills or experience, and TruthFinder relationship expert Amica Graber recommends that you take the time to figure out where that overlap is. “What similarities can you find between your passions?” Graber asks. “If you’re into photography and they’re into sports, see if you can find a sports photography exhibition. If you introduce your passion alongside something that they also enjoy, it’s easier for them to relate to it and get excited.” Establish the connection, and build from there.
3. Make it easy for them to say yes. It can go a long way to offer your partner a built-in out should they find themself not having the best time with you in your element. If, for example, you want your bae to try their hand — well, legs — at skiing, be forthcoming about the fact that they can spend the day drinking hot chocolate in the lodge if they’re over it after a single trip down the slopes. “By giving the activity an escape hatch, it’ll be easier for your partner to say yes to trying it, because they can stop at any time,” notes UpDate Coaching founder Andrea Amour.
4. Do an interest swap. If you want your partner to check out something that you’re interested in, Graber suggests that you commit to doing the same for them. Set time aside over the course of a week for each of you to teach the other something new. This tip might be especially helpful if you’re dealing with an S.O. who’s reluctant to explore new interests.
5. Make it a date night. This process doesn’t need to feel pedantically instructional. Maple Holistics health and wellness expert Caleb Backe suggests that you turn a lesson in your favorite things into a full-blown night out. “Get together a picnic or some drinks and make it fun,” Backe says. “Whatever the situation, it should be something you experience together — not just you playing teacher for the night.”
6. Get creative. Your partner might not be ready to jump into a new hobby 100 percent, but you can still give them opportunities to experience it on a smaller scale. Life coach and marriage mentor Maggie Reyes of Modern Married suggests, for example, that you invite your partner to take a closer look at the paintings you’ve been working on in your art class. They might not be ready to attend a class themself, but that’s okay! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and you’ll be surprised at how rewarding it can be when you’re open to involving bae in different ways.
7. Withhold judgment. No matter how much of an expert you are in the subject at hand, you need to work hard at resisting the temptation to criticize or nitpick your partner’s performance — or their level of enthusiasm. Executive coach and mindfulness expert Elizabeth Su notes the importance of withholding judgment when trying to include your significant other in something you love. This will help guard against condescension.
8. Be prepared to let it go. Even after your partner is willing to give your passion a go, you need to be ready to move on if they ultimately end up not enjoying it. “For many people, trying new things can be extremely intimidating,” says coach Carlota Zimmerman. “They’re afraid to ask stupid questions. If you can make your partner feel safe but feel even then that [they] don’t like it, they need to know you still love them!” Introducing your S.O. to running because you love taking a jog every day is great, but it’s not guaranteed to be the beginning of a lifelong running habit for them. If they make the effort to give it a try, you should be thankful, even if they decide that it was a one-time thing.
9. Don’t lose your independence. According to relationship expert and writer Amanda Raimondi, the beauty of maintaining interests separate from your partner is that it “makes you seem independent and that you’re happy with or without them. No one wants a partner that is completely dependent on them for happiness. That is a lot of pressure on a relationship.” Make sure your partner understands that, no matter how much they fall in love with your personal hobbies and passions, you both will still have plenty of latitude to do your own thing. It will help the whole process feel less intense.
What passion of yours would you most love for your S.O. to love too? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)