When you start dating someone new, it's not just the person you're seeing who becomes part of your life. As the relationship becomes more serious, you will likely not only meet the important people in your partner's life, but you may be expected — and want to! —spend time with them as well. Becoming friends with your significant other's pals will show the special person in your life you care. It will make social interactions with their friends more enjoyable, and it will keep them from having to choose between you or their friends in situations when it would be perfectly acceptable and fun to hang out as a group. Trying to become friends with your significant other's pals can be intimidating but it's totally doable and is well worth the effort. Here are a few ways to give it a shot.

Respect your partner's friendships by taking time apart

Before you start trying to become buddies with your new love's friends, it's important to make sure you don't do anything that could impede your chances, such as keeping them from hanging out. You're smitten and want to spend lots of time with your S.O., but it's healthy for each of you to spend time apart with your own friends, too. Similarly, don't be jealous or worry that they're interested in being more than just friends. When I started dating my future husband, I noticed he had a tight-knit group of friends that included some beautiful women. If I had been insecure about his feelings for me or jealous of them, I might have missed out on what has turned into some great friendships.

Once you begin to establish rapport with your significant other's buddies, remember to continue respecting their friendship by recognizing where their loyalties lie. Don't badmouth your partner to them. It's best not to talk badly about your special person, in general, but if you want to vent, do it with your friends, not your partner's.

Figure out what you have in common with their friends

As you're getting to know your S.O.'s pals, get the conversation going by asking questions about how they know each other or their history as friends. Try to see them from your significant other's perspective. If you share interests with your partner, you probably share interests with the friends, too. And that's a great place to start a friendship.

Relax, and don't pretend to be someone you're not

Although you want your significant other's friends to approve of you, don't be so preoccupied with getting them to like you that you aren't being yourself. You are not just the girlfriend; remember you are your own person with interests and passions independent of your beau. Show your partner's friends who you are, and then try to get to know them as well. Ask questions about them as individuals, not just about them and your beau.

Bring them in to hang out

Once you've figured out a few things your significant other's friends like to do for fun, invite them to do something with you and your beau. Hang out with the people they are dating, too, if they are in relationships. As you get to know each other, if you're compatible, a friendship will develop naturally.

If all goes well, you may hit it off with some of these people and start friendships that would last even if you and your beau broke up. If you don't, that's OK — not everyone is meant to become besties. Just try to have a good time when you're all together. Whether you become buddies with your partner's friends or not, your beau will appreciate the effort you put into trying to get to know the people important to them.

(Image via CBS)