Like it or not, in dating we all become judgmental.
But sometimes that’s ok.
Relationships are one part of life in which (at least if you’re looking for something serious) it really pays to take a few things seriously. What most of us overlook though is the fact that it is not only ourselves being judged by a potential partner, but our friends as well.
Our jobs, our lifestyle, the number of empty week-old pizza boxes in our apartment – all serve as indicators of our standards in life.
Take fashion-sense. Most of us were taught by our parents to look past superficial adornments like what designer watch or expensive clothes we happen to wear, but the truth is, while pricey brand names are no indicator of class or merit, we all cannot help but make decisions based on how much effort someone puts into their appearance (fortunately, this is by far and away a question of taste and attention to detail more than it is money – in fact, over-spending on clothes and jewellery can be a negative indicator on our relationship-value if it makes us look vacuous and superficial).
The point is, everything we give attention and energy to tells someone about what we value.
Which brings us to our friends…
Your Friends Tell Others The Truth About Who You Are
People affect us more than anything else in life.
They affect our mood, our habits, what we strive for and what we care about. More often than not, we pick friends that are a reflection of what already matters to us.
Which is why we have to be really careful about what we value in others.
While a guy is not exactly going to refuse to take a woman home for one night because she has an annoying friend (in fact, this might provide special motivation to get her back to his bedroom alone even quicker), the people a woman chooses to have in her life will seriously affect his perception of her as a long-term partner.
I’ve noticed more and more in my own life how I unconsciously judge people when they introduce me to their close circle of friends, especially if I notice that the majority of their social circle are self-centered, snobby, bitchy, obnoxious or bullying.
I’ll even notice the conversation-style my would-be partner adopts when she’s with her friends:
- Does she suddenly become an unpleasant gossip?
- Does she mock other friends who aren’t present to defend themselves in a mean-spirited way?
- Is she caustic and demeaning in her treatment of strangers and service-staff who approach her and her friends’ table?
People’s behaviour with their close friends can speak volumes.
But what if she isn’t actually like her friends? What if she is a nicer person who just happens to hang around with gossipy types? In that case, for me it only begs the question “Why does she put up with these people? Is there a secret part of her that enjoys acting this way when I’m not around?” Once this feeling sets in, I find myself subtly pulling away, refusing to go to social events with the person if I know a group of her annoying friends will be there.
Even as I write this, I know how judgmental this all sounds. It’s none of my business. It’s her friends. Maybe she wouldn’t like my friends. Who am I to tell her who’s company to enjoy?
That all sounds logical. Except it rarely works that way.
Much as we may not like to believe it, we are all extremely susceptible to the influence of those around us. Research has repeatedly shown that our personality often becomes a composite of the five people with whom we spend the most time.
Our friends make a difference, and often subtly reflect different shades of our character.
This is the kind of thing I know I would have found myself shrugging off in my early twenties, but increasingly I’ve become aware of how much you can tell about someone by the company they keep.
Women are also keenly aware of this. If a woman notices the guy she is dating has a bunch of friends or roommates who are players that have no scruples or morality in their dating lives, she’ll start to wonder if her guy approves of this behaviour, and may even start to feel suspicious of what he’s like when she’s not around.
Bottom line: It is possible to get tarnished with a bad reputation simply by proximity.
If you have shallow friends, guys will assume your shallow.
If your friends always have bitchy conversations, a guy will assume that you do the same when he’s not around.
If you have friends who are insecure and who complain about their lives all day, a guy will assume you indulge in the same bad habit.
Those whom we gravitate towards in life says a lot about us. It’s worth being aware that those within our orbit are always part of the greater picture of who we are.
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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.