Are Your Friends Keeping You Single?
If you’ve just started seeing someone, spilling details to your girlfriends might not be a good idea. Here are 10 ways they can accidentally sabotage your happiness without even realizing it.
o you think you’ve finally met The One? Even though it’s still early in the relationship, you wonder if it’s a good idea to cross-examine every moment you spend with him with your pals the way you usually do. One word: don’t! Even though your friends love you and generally want the best for you, the single ones — especially the ones you’ve
spent years with in the dating trenches — may not be as happy for you as you might expect. In fact, there are a number of reasons why your uncoupled gal-pals may actually be keeping you single. Below are 10 common ways that friends can sabotage budding relationships. Remember: forewarned is forearmed!
|When you’re single you have to break out of the crowd.|
1. They’re losing a partner in crime.
Who doesn’t like a girls’ night out — especially if there’s a chance to meet a great guy? When you’re single you have to break out of the crowd so guys can actually meet you, but once you’re already dating someone, you may not be available for those party nights usually spent with the girls — which could make your friends resentful towards him. “My boyfriend was in a Ph.D. program and I could only see him on Saturday nights,” said Tammy S., 26, a healthcare administrator from New York City. “My old college roommates were really mad, even though I had the whole rest of the week to see them!”
2. They think they’re trying to protect you.
They’ve seen you jump without a parachute before only to watch your heart get broken, and they don’t want to see it happen again. “I was so excited about meeting Dave, but my best friend just kept saying, ‘Be careful,’” recalls Lisette B., a 35-year-old dance teacher in Los Angeles, describing how things went when she first met her future husband. “I know she was just looking out for me, but I wanted her to be happy for me in the moment.”
3. They’re acting like the dating police.
Everyone has their own dating “rules” that dictate how a guy is supposed to behave, when he should call, when you should return his call and so forth. But there is more than one way to catch a fish, and if your girlfriends disagree with your guy’s behavior, it could influence how you see him, too.
4. They’ve stopped believing in true love.
Let’s face it: dating can be daunting, and if your friend hasn’t had a lot of luck lately, she may not feel so positive about love anymore. Your girlfriends might not even believe that there’s a good guy out there for any of them, especially one who won’t pull the rug out from under your feet down the road. So, they’ve become cautious, and they want you to be equally cautious, too.
5. They are jealous of you.
The green-eyed monster can sure be ugly when rearing its head in any friendship, but it’s more about what your friend is lacking in her own life than what you’re doing with yours. “I can’t believe you just moved here and met Sam and it’s so easy for you,” Genna M.’s best friend emailed her in regards to Genna’s burgeoning new relationship. “I was sad that she was jealous, but I understand it’s a tough spot to be in,” says Genna, 39, a lawyer in Chicago.
6. They’re used being your first priority.
“She’s the type of girl who always puts her husband first,” says Sarah S., 34, complaining about her married friend,
a fellow writer from Boston. But isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Movies like Sex and the City convey the message that friendship always comes first, but is abandoning your new family or partner to spend time with the girls at the drop of a hat really the hallmark of a healthy relationship? A real friend understands that while you’ll always be there for her, you might need to put your partner first.
|Your friendships with single pals can survive.|
7. They try to tell you what you want to hear.
Good friends almost always take your side — but that can sometimes be harmful if you’re dating someone. “I think that women sabotage each other by always thinking that they have to support their friends’ feelings, even if their friend might be irrational,” says Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough (Dutton, 2010). “So if you go on a date with a guy and you say, ‘Yeah, we had a pretty good time, but I don’t know, he had this weird laugh,’ then they call him ‘weird laugh guy’ and you don’t go out with him again — even though you actually liked him.”
8. They don’t understand your romantic needs.
Picture this: you finally bring your sweetie out to meet the girls, and they give him a tepid review because he’s not the life of the party. They don’t see how sweet and kind and considerate he is to you when the two of you are alone. Friends sometimes judge your guy by what they want in a partner or a friend, not taking into consideration what you might need or want for yourself.
9. They don’t know what it takes to make a relationship work.
In successful relationships, you often have to compromise with your partner in order to make things work. But people who are single for a long time get used to doing things their own way. They might have forgotten that when you’re seeing someone, you don’t always get to make decisions without taking the wants and desires of your partner into consideration first.
10. Your negativity makes them worry that you’re secretly unhappy.
Often, it’s not your pals’ fault that they aren’t exactly enthusiastic about your so-called Mr. Right — especially when you spend all your time with them speaking critically of him, constantly complaining about the negatives and neglecting to highlight the many positives in your relationship. If you talk about your partner with respect, then your friends will, too.
Does this mean that, once you meet The One, you should ditch all of your single girlfriends? “You have to consider who you are talking to and what they might be going through,” says Gottlieb, noting that you might be better off discussing your relationship issues with your (happily) married friends.
Your friendships with single pals can survive as long as you recognize that they are also going to evolve: mo more girls’ nights out picking up guys, no more man-bashing brunches, no more cataloguing all your partner’s peccadilloes to your BFFs at happy hour. And now that you know to watch out for the potential pitfalls we’ve outlined here, who knows? You might just be the friend that helps your single girlfriends take their dating lives to the next level!
Amy Klein writes the weekly “Fertility Diary” column for The New York Times’ Motherlode blog. Her website is kleinslines.com.