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We all have friends, and some of those friends we love dearly. Sometimes we look to them for support, guidance, and answers to questions we have a hard time deciphering. When we meet new people or potential love interests, the first people we normally go to are our friends. Sometimes we go to them just to talk about our new experiences, but more than likely most people look to their friends for consent and approval, especially of who we date. One of the major causes of relationships breaking up is due to outside influence by friends, but a more critical fact you may not even know is that most relationships don’t even get off of the ground because of the influence of friends. So now, the question becomes should friends influence who you date? And if so, how much influence should they have.

A concept that most people in relationships or interested in starting relationships fail to comprehend is that a relationship consists of two people. We all look to our friends for encouragement and as an alternative view to our sometimes cloudy judgment. But, we have to be vigilant in minimizing the roles that they play in our decisions concerning our relationships. I’m sure many of us have liked somebody and told our friends about this person. Our friends may not be as enthusiastic about this person as we are, or may say something dismissal such as “Shorty is a bird” or “dude is a cornball”. Some people capitulate to the peer pressure. You know that if they saw you with this person they would have bad things to say or clown you for it. I’ve seen people live their love lives in secrecy because they were afraid of what their friends would think. I’ve seen people break up with somebody they truly liked simply because they got bad reviews from their friends. There comes a point in time where we have to make our decisions independent of the sentiments of others. But when do we know that we have approached that point?

First of all, a true friend would be supportive of any decision that you made if it was a positive one. This becomes tricky though. If your friend knows the person that you are dating or interested in dating better than you, then it may not hurt to listen to what they are saying. But if it is a superficial judgment based on no prior knowledge, then it has to be disregarded. You should never feel that you have to adapt other people’s preferences as your own. Even with prior knowledge, you have to take it with a grain of salt. They could be jealous, envious, or have an anterior motive. With the exception of domestic violence history, it doesn’t seem to risky to find out on your own. Me personally, as soon as I hear any negativity from a friend about my situations I no longer talk to them about it or confide in them. They have lost that privilege as soon as they try to make decisions for me. But many of us want to make our friends happy, or simply just be accepted by our friends. We want them to be impressed by the decisions that we make, especially when it comes to dating. Let me put you on to a little secret. People are always going to disapprove of something that you do, but at the end of the day when they go home, they aren’t thinking about you. And if they are thinking about you, then they have some issues in their lives that they need to address. We can’t live for the happiness of others, we have to do things pertinent to our happiness.

The best way to learn is through experience and not the advice of others. Some of us are afraid of taking shots to our reputation. Please understand that if you carry yourself with respect and are confident in the decisions that you make, then there is nothing anyone can do to change your perspective on yourself. We cannot allow our friends, regardless of how much we love, admire, and respect them, to have that much control on our lives. I am an advocate of individuality.
Who hasn’t been in a situation where you see a person that you might be feeling, but you know that they don’t measure up to what people would think of the “best person” for you or someone you would normally date. In lament terms, “IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW ANYONE ELSE FEELS”. They’ll get over it. And besides, your friends who are trying to appear perfect are the ones running around with thousands of skeletons in their closets, full of bad decisions that they have made. Who can really pass judgment?

If she’s not attractive enough in the eyes of your friends, so what? If he’s not smart enough or makes enough money in the eyes of your friends, so what? It would be wise to keep people out of your business, because negative input can sabotage your vision and take away your happiness. A general rule would be to not let your friends influence who you date, even if it is positive. Never attempt to fit in, always set the bar, if not for others, then at least for yourself. Trust your decisions, trust your instincts. Letting others manipulate your decisions is a clear indication that you don’t! If you care about your identity, you would never commit Date While under the Influence.
Written by Bryant A. Buntin, Author of Dear Women I Haven’t Slept With

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