Meeting family is generally seen as the worse experience of a dating relationship that has become serious. Depending upon the family, it can make or break the couple's future relationship. Every family has its own standards and issues, and they will measure a person dating their loved one on these scales. Passing this test gives the couple the option to easily further their relationship, but it does not guarantee it will go smoothly. While meeting the family is difficult, the previous hurdle of meeting friends is much worse by comparison.
Single people are often introduced to each other through mutual friends, and their first date may be with that friend and their spouse or significant other. This is not the same as meeting the close friends of a new partner's circle, and it can be an unnerving experience. Friends are usually willing to take a person at face value, but they tend to notice many things and will remark on them at a later date. This is an experience that may be tense, but the relationship will not advance until a new partner can be integrated into the group.
Friends often see their role in this type of social setting as a way to help their friend see a person for who they are rather than what they say they are. Looking at another person, without chemistry or preconceived notions, is a good way to judge their true character. If a person was previously in a bad relationship, their friends will be much more cautious and suspicious when meeting person they have been dating.
Passing the test of meeting a partner's friends will help the relationship progress. The dating couple can now integrate their relationship with others, and it will not be as awkward or difficult as they imagine. Failing to pass this test does put the potential relationship on rocky ground, and the pair may break up when this occurs.