A lesson that I learned early in my dating career was that boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, but our friends are forever. That’s why it’s so important to nurture your friendships, even when you are dating someone. Unfortunately, dating often comes with it’s fair share of disappointment. Not every relationship you enter into is going to work out. When things go south with the object of your affection, your friends will be there to help support and get you back on your feet (as you would do for them). As they say, Bros before…well, you get the point.
For many of us, our friendships are an important part of our lives. Therefore, the opinions of our friends matter. However, when it comes to our dating choices, how much weight should we give our friends opinions? And secondly, how should we proceed when we start dating someone that our friends aren’t keen on?
If you’re trying to balance the feelings you have for someone you’re beginning to like online with the opinion of one of your good friends, here’s a few things to keep in mind –
Our friends have our best interests at heart-
If you’re like me, your friends have seen you go through a bunch of different breakups over the years. They’ve experienced first hand the fallout of your previous dating decisions and have been there to support me along the way. Therefore, it’s understandable that they’d have an opinion on who you, their trusted friend, should date. If someone is your friend, they care about you and don’t want to see you to get hurt again. So, while you may be quick to shrug off their input, remember that your friends are coming from a place that has your best interest at heart.
There are so many times in the past that I wish I’d listened to my friend’s advice, that now I really value their opinion. Because, although we hate to admit it, our friends often know us better than we know ourselves.
Listen to their concerns about your date. Are they legitimate?
This is where things can get tricky. When it comes to your friend’s opinions on who you date, it’s important that you take a step back and listen to their concerns before you make any knee jerk reactions. Hear them out. Are their concerns about this person legitimate? How long have you known this friend? Or how long have they known the person you’re dating? These are questions you need to carefully consider before you jump on the defensive.
For example, if your friend’s telling you that “they just don’t like” this person or that they “don’t think he/she is good enough for you” but don’t have anything to back this up, it may just mean that they are coming from a place that’s overly protective. If you sense this is the case, acknowledge their opinion and proceed with caution. There’s a good chance that once they see that this person isn’t going to hurt you, they’ll warm up to them.
However, on the other hand if your friends are telling you that the person you’re dating is dangerous, has a history of being dishonest or has been rude to your friends – it’s really important that you take this into account. If you still want to date this person, proceed very, very cautiously.
Address these concerns and develop trust –
Ok, if you’ve decided to date this person despite your friend’s reservations. Your friends may not trust the person you’re dating right away, but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Your friends may just need to get to know them better. This doesn’t mean that you have to bring your friends with you on your first date (unless you want to subject your date to what is likely to be the dating version of the Spanish Inquisition.) However, setting aside some time for your friends to meet the person you’re dating in a casual, low pressure setting is a great way to break the ice and allow both groups to develop a rapport.
Conversely, if you’re the person that your date’s friends aren’t keen on, you need to address their concerns head on and use positive actions to show that you’re a good person who will treat their friend right. In other words, this is the perfect opportunity to win them over. Be polite. Ask them questions about themselves. Be helpful. Don’t impinge on their time together. Be a great date or partner to their treasured friend. Actions speak louder than words, so when they see that you’re not a threat, they will ease up.
Keep your friends close –
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you’re dating someone is neglecting your friendships. Regardless of how things turn out with this person you’ve met online, make sure that you keep your friends in the loop throughout the whole process. Make sure you set aside time for your friends. Do the things you usually do together – whether that’s Wine Wednesday, Poker Fridays – or just hanging out. When your friends see that you’re happy, safe and not going anywhere, they’re more likely to get a positive reading on the person you’re seeing.