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.
The way we spend our time, and who we choose to spend it with, are a snapshot of our values.
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.
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8 Replies to “Men Are Judging You Based On Your Friends – More Than You Might Think”
Thank you, Stephen. It’s a great post, as usual. I feel awkward about frequently repeating my praise. But it’s not a mindless habit, it’s individual appreciation of individual articles.
Today’s article seems to focus on women’s female friends. The same arguments are probably true for woman’s male friends but the dynamics are slightly different.
And just as poorly selected friends negatively reflect on a woman high-quality female and male friends raise her value.
The main reason to surround oneself with high-quality people, though, is that they force you (subconsciously) to raise your own game, to strive for ever higher quality for yourself.
This article gave me a lot to think about. 4 years ago I had a severe accident and now am disabled. I was amazed how many of my friends for decades distanced themselves. They could not cope, one guy threw up after seeing me in my wheelchair. The people who are really close to me now are very different.
Their socioeconomic status is a lot lower, they work hard and have many troubles of their own- but whenever I need them whether to do s.th er just listen or visit me because i am to fatigued to get out of bed they are there for me. I have amazing friends and if anyone wants to judge me based on them- please do it!!! Friends are the family you choose for yourself and as important perhaps even more important than ” “the guy”:-)
Loved that Petra such a good point. You just never know what people see in eachother.
Oh this is my pet peeve! I can’t stand this kind of judgemental attitude. It’s not that your friends don’t say something about you – it’s that
1) you don’t know what two people have in common.
2) They’re friends not identical twins… and even then…
There are always characteristics we don’t share with our friend cause we’ve had different lives, values, hobbies, blessings, abilities, choices… etc..
3) sometimes opposites attract, not just the bad but the good. maybe the friend is a gossiper as you said, but maybe your girl just likes to be able to say it like she means it and be honest about the people and circumstances around her. maybe that’s why she pus up with it.
4) you don’t know what two people can’t stand about eachother,… there are always ways in which we disagree completely with eachother and things we find a turn off about our friends. that’s life.
Just a suggestion, you guys need someone to proofread your articles before publication. There are spelling/grammatical mistakes. For instance, “If you have shallow friends, guys will assume your shallow”. It should be you’re not your. Since your articles are really useful, I would really like it to be perfect in every way. Sorry if this is offending. But I have found such mistakes before and I just wanted to let you guys know abut it.
(Note: My comment of today looks nothing like the original version I had written four weeks ago when your article came out. What a difference a month can make… I’m glad I took my time, but I seriously hope that what I am about to say will make sense to you. Sometimes, when I ruminate too much on a subject, I can lose the thread a little. So here goes nothing. :) )
Reading your article felt like an emotional punch in the gut. Let me try to explain this. I think that you have a fascinating writer’s mind. I love how you do not sugar-coat things and yet manage to bring your point across eloquently to build coalitions with your readers, on topics that could otherwise possibly cause collisions between you and them. “Judging others” is a tricky topic to openly discuss without sending the invitation out to others to judge the messenger. This is why your anticipations are commendable; for example, when you said: “Even as I write this, I know how judgemental this all sounds. It’s none of my business. It’s her friends. […] Who am I to tell her who’s company to enjoy?” I’ve observed that this is a scarce quality for a writer to bear these days, especially for bloggers. Way too often, I see people only being in some sort of a rush to bring their message out that they forget who they are dealing with on the receiving end. Only great thinkers and authors master this character or technique. Hence, upon reading those lines mentioned above, you stroked the fur back in the direction it flows and my reader’s mind was soothed again. Why is this so important? Because, it allowed me to really hear you out and this reminded me of how foolish I have recently been. “Aoutch.”
“The way we spend our time, and who we choose to spend it with, are a snapshot of our values.” True and I do not doubt the values I share with all of my friends. But when you explain that we have to pick wisely the people we choose to spend our time with, alongside the wise words of Jim Rohns, you couldn’t be more right. I was reminded of this recently. It was a painful experience to learn from. Of course, I’ll spare you the details, especially because, I am no longer friends with them. Unfortunately for me, it was an agonising process to make that decision. However, today, I can finally look back at it and breathe up again. These people (I speak of a married couple in particular) are good people; they are just not right for me anymore. I heard that they miss me, but I don’t. I miss something else. Over the past few weeks, I came to realise that what I was missing were the values we once shared (and the moments of course), but more precisely, the intensity we used to live up to those values. I can find these values within my other friendships and those that are to come. So, although, I already knew that which you are saying in your article (albeit in theory); this experience has come to make me understand it also deep down. And that is why I can totally agree with you. Our friendships are a reflection of our values. From now on, though, I will truly choose more wisely. ;)
The other thing I would like to add is this:
You are absolutely telling the truth, when you are saying that men are judging us on our friends. I do too. But, because, the “judgement” you speak of is also called first impression, I think that we need to be careful and stand clear from a fire-forest-effect approach. I deem such an approach as too radical, i.e.: “Show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” I’m glad you did not refer to this. >;P It is more about observing the close circle of friend’s people surround themselves with, in order to gain an impression of them. Like you said, friends grant you a glimpse into some of the values a person has.
Even, in a case scenario where, the guys’ friends happen to be your best or close friends don’t let the value of friendship blur your judgement. Don’t forget to look at the rest of his friends and listen to your other friends and family. If they happen to tell you even mild things like “you can do so much better than that,” or “that’s not a man for you,” they are probably right! :D Your own entourage knows you best. I learned this lesson also the hard way this year. My father always says, “You can either be a donkey or learn from the experience of others.” Ehen, what a donkey I have been this year. :D Thanks to that though, I learned to leave for fresh fields and pastures new.
Dead on Stephen! I have definitely been judged on my friends. Some of my favorite people who are loyal friends can and have caused a bit of concern to my significant other. But it comes with the territory with both friends and family. I guess we should choose all of our life relationships carefully.
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