Are your friends keeping you single?
I know that may seem like a weird question to ask, especially because as the saying goes, we choose our friends, not our family. In other words, our friends are people who get to see us in the good and the bad, and they still choose to stick around!
As a result of that connection and community, our friends give us a safe place to be vulnerable. But is it possible that the same people who hold you down through life’s most difficult seasons, are also holding you back from meeting the love of your life—and making it last forever?
The answer is Yes, at least according to Charlotte Alter, who explored the ways modern daters have prioritized their friends over their love lives in a recent article entitled “The Friendship Trap.”
The daters she talked to and observed often turned down a date in order to hang out with their friends or would cut a date short because they got a text message inviting them over for game night.
Why in the world would someone walk out on a date with their potential future spouse just to go play Taboo?
Well, when the choice is between having to spend time and energy getting to know someone new (who might not even work out) or spending time with people whom you know love you and will never leave you, these singles will choose certainty and safety over something that just might not last.
It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll end up alone when you don’t want to be if you prioritize anything over your love life—and that includes church, work, family or friends. You have to be able to manage your life in such a way that you still have time to invest in attracting and building relationships.
But it’s easy to see why some modern day singles would rather hang on to a sure thing instead of taking a risk with a stranger.
But fear of uncertainty isn’t the only reason some people allow their friends to sabotage their relationships. As a dating coach, I’ve actually witnessed a different experience; friends who get in the way of a woman’s love life.
These are women who are very successful in their careers. They are often looked to as the backbone of their families, and their friends depend on them for advice, prayer and emotional support.
But almost all of them have told me at one point or another that they don’t feel like they receive the kind of support they’re always giving to other people. Some of them don’t feel they have real friends with whom they can trust with their deepest secrets and struggles.
I’ve spent many sessions listening to my clients weep as they tell me that all of their friends are married with kids and not only do they feel like a third wheel, but they’d also feel like a burden if they ever reached out to their friends to talk about a recent breakup with their boyfriend.
Other women may have friends who are single, but they don’t feel like they can share the details of their relationships with their BFF because she’ll either feel jealous because she doesn’t have a date, or she’ll give advice that isn’t trustworthy.
For these sisters, a lack of real community makes dating harder because they feel isolated. They don’t feel like they have a place to turn to for advice or for moral support. Their lack of friendship from women who will love, rebuke, counsel and encourage them is what ultimately leads to their struggles in romantic relationships.
It’s amazing to me that we can be so connected through social media and text messages yet feel so isolated at the same time. We all need to rethink our relationships, including the role friendships play in our lives.
It’s important to maintain a community of people who are going to stick with you through thick and thin, but you also have to be careful not to lose hope that it’s possible to have that kind of relationship with a romantic partner.
Otherwise you’ll end up dating your friends and letting your love life wither by the wayside.
BMWK singles, what role do your friends play in you life? Do you spend more time with them than you go on dates?