Can Friends Sabotage Your Love Life?

By eHarmony Advice Host Kate

Can Friends Sabotage Your Love Life?

A friend’s off-handed comment about a match’s profile could steer you toward or away from a potential partner. Here’s some food for thought on this matter of the heart!

The eHarmony relationship search process often emphasizes the individual choices of members. Ultimately, you alone call the final shots regarding whom you do or do not decide to pursue. In spite of how self-sufficient you may feel, you can’t escape how the people you surround yourself with may affect and influence your choices.

It can take something as small as a friend’s off-handed comment about a match’s profile to steer you toward or away from a potential partner. Or it could even be something as dramatic as a friend’s betrayal by “stealing” a partner or potential partner.

The dating process often seems as delicate as a walk across a tightrope. It can be painful and heart-breaking when things don’t work out. Should you lose your balance, you want to have a strong net beneath you to break your fall. Here are some thoughts on how to create the best support network for you as you search for the love of your life.

QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR PERSONAL “CHORUS”

You may want to seek out empathetic friends who will listen, enjoy, and appreciate your dating and relationship stories and quandaries. Choose friends who are invested in and embrace your journey like a chorus in your own musical, or fans rooting for their favorite team (you).

They’ll respond to your discouragement with words of genuine encouragement, not platitudes. They’ll be frank with you, but they won’t put you down about your choices and perceptions. Even if they disagree with your dating choices, they’ll be flexible and “go with it” without judging. They’ll let you learn your own lessons, and they’ll be there for you when you come to your own conclusions, if you realize you made a mistake. They won’t say “I told you so.” They’ll introduce you to candidates without pushing them on you. They’ll cheer you up and cheer you on. Those are some characteristics of good relationship-search supporters…

DIFFERENT PEOPLE FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS

Nobody is perfect. Even though someone may be a good, well-meaning friend, they may not be able to be your confidant in every situation, and may not have the capacity to understand all that you’re going through or all the choices you make. You can learn which friends to go to for different issues.

“CONSIDER THE SOURCE”

To discern whom you can go to in various situations, you can observe choices and behaviors in each individual’s relationships. Ask yourself: what is their track record for past advice and support they’ve given or haven’t given you? Are their observations usually accurate and encouraging? Do they leave you feeling strong and “built up” rather than feeling fearful, ashamed, guilty, or defeated for your choices? If you notice that they treat other people a certain way, expect them to treat you the same at some point.

DIVERSIFY

No one should have the pressure of being someone’s one and only all-purpose support system. One person or one group of people probably doesn’t make for the strongest net, especially if you end up needing more along the way than one resource can give, or if that resource doesn’t come through for you. If you can, you may want to “spread your net” pretty wide. Here are some places you might look for some supportive resources:
• Family
• Friends
• Roommates
• Religious communities
• Social groups
• Therapists
And last, but certainly not least:
• The eHarmony Advice community!

LEARN TO TRUST YOUR OWN INSTINCTS

Most of all, remember that it does all come down to you and your own decision-making skills. You can surround yourself with wise people, get a lot of good feedback, but at the end of the day, only you can know yourself enough to know what you need and what is good for you. For instance, if you have a bad gut feeling about someone and yet the people in your life think that person is great for you, you might consider allowing your own instincts to veto the “majority vote.”

Knowing that you have a strong support system, you needn’t fear the perils of dating. Your friends will have your back.

Are your friends keeping you single?

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