When it comes to relationships, who is it better to listen to: yourself or your friends? YourTango's Melissa Walker shares her account of why listening to friends can make potential relationships quickly fizzle.
Other people's opinions used to influence me to a fault. Then I started trusting myself.
I met Dan at a bar in London, where I worked for a year after college. I crashed a private birthday party with my roommates, and we homed in on the free food table, where Dan was also stationed. He and I bonded over American-style sliders and our illicit presences — he didn’t know the birthday boy, either — and he bought me three drinks before the night was through. Dan was shy, gentlemanly even, so although we soon became inseparable — meeting for walks in Kensington Park and pints after work — we danced in that limbo of more-than-friends but haven't-yet-kissed.
About two weeks after we'd met (and after about six nondates), we joined some of my friends at a bar. One of them said, "Oh, I wondered why you're not dating him, but now I see . . . he's balding." Then another chimed in to say she could never date someone shorter than she was. "We're not dating," I rushed to clarify. "We're just friends." That was it for Dan.
After a year, I left London to move to New York, and I met Dan to say goodbye. We did one of those holding-each-other hugs, and I felt such a pang of regret — we should have had something more than we did.
We live in a culture of crowdsourcing. I rarely buy a shirt without sending a pic to my stylish BFF and asking what she thinks. But putting back a piece of clothing because she reminds me that it's not my color or that the cut is wrong for my body is different from tossing aside a perfectly lovely guy, one I might really have something special with, based solely on a friend's commentary. For too long when I considered whether to date someone, my inner voice said something like: "Well, I'm into him. But how will everyone else feel?" And it wasn't just Dan I missed out on.
For the rest of the story, head to YourTango: I Found Real Love . . . Once I Stopped Listening to My Friends
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