It’s Love, But Will Your Friends Agree?
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that a woman’s friends could predict the fate of a relationship better than the man’s pals, or even the couple themselves. Why? Probably because – unlike your family – you choose your friends and that means they can be a more accurate reflection of who you are.
But how much should your friends’ opinions affect the future of your romance?
Unless you’ve got some very honest and outspoken friends, your pals will probably be wary about commenting on your relationship (unless it’s ending). You’ll – hopefully! – hear all about it if your date is met to rave reviews, but don’t expect to hear much if your friends disapprove. What should you worry about? If none of your friends will talk about him/her, if your pals regularly don’t have time to hang out with both of you but seem to be free when plans are with you alone, and your steady admits he or she doesn’t like them (chances are, it’s mutual.)
Not all friends are created equal, so don’t worry if your love isn’t universally adored. Don’t worry about the opinions of casual friends whose lives are very different from yours and your new partner’s. That means, for example, that maybe it shouldn’t matter to you if your beer-pong buddies think your new love is too “boring and responsible.”
Jealousy can also be the culprit when friends and lovers don’t get along. Friends might feel “left behind” or resent that you’re spending less time with the group. Gently probe your pals with open-ended questions (“I notice it’s sometimes uncomfortable when we’re all together. How do you feel hanging out with X?”) and pay attention to the answers.
Check the Numbers
One disapproving friend might prove a fluke, but if all of your friends agree your new love is a loser? Well, it’s hard to argue with those averages. You might not call it off (yet), but if everyone thinks you can do better, you might at least postpone decisions that involve moving trucks, diamonds or diapers.
In some cases -- when it’s your best friend versus your sweetheart and there’s no compromise in sight – you might consider getting outside perspective in the form of a counselor. If both your friendship and your relationship are worth keeping, it can be good to have someone help all three of you talk through things.
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