Are your friends the reason you're still single?


Single these holidays?

Chances are you’ll head to a friend’s house for company and their take on why you can’t find lasting love.

Friends know best, right?

Not necessarily.

Look familiar?

While great friends are indisputably brilliant sounding boards for relationship choices, seeking advice too early can actually sabotage relationships and ruin what could have been.

The more often we get it wrong in love, the earlier we tend to introduce a potential partner to our friends.

We don’t trust our own judgment anymore but we do trust theirs, so drag them along to the pub for a once-over on date two or three.

But while the reasons for wanting friend’s approval are justified, timing is everything.

There are some compelling arguments to holding off introducing that great new boyfriend or girlfriend for at least a few months.

1. You need time to make up your own mind first

Anyone who’s been in love - and had their heart broken - is well aware it’s near impossible to see things clearly at the loved-up start.

It seemed perfectly plausible at the time for him to only want to see you during the week and never on the weekend.

When you find out he’s married and look back, you realise the signs were there but you didn’t seem them because you saw what you wanted to see, rather than what was there.

This is the prime reason why we do parade new lovers in front of people who care about us - to get a second opinion.


But second opinion’s are only useful if you’ve had the chance to form your own.

It’s a very, very good idea to listen hard to your friend’s opinions of a new partner a few months in, then weigh up the evidence, use your judgement and make a call.

It’s quite another to let them make up your mind for you.

Their opinion can make you focus negatively on things that worry them, not you.

2. Couples need time to smooth out the rough bits

Some couples meet and fit seamlessly together.

Most met and mould but need to rub along together for a bit to smooth out the rough spots.

It’s called getting to know each other: you need time to figure our each other’s communication styles and past influences.

An author doesn’t submit the first draft of a book to the publisher. It’s nearly always the third (or 300th in some cases!).

You work on it before handing it over for judgement: it’s the same for new love.

Give the relationship time to breathe and settle before letting your friends loose.

They’ll be protectively watching for any wrong move or jarring between you both.

3. The friends who love you most are the most dangerous

The friends who were most upset when you got dumped by the last guy, are the ones who’ll be uber-critical of the next.

It’s coming from the best possible place: they want to protect you from further pain.

But it can result in them seeing character flaws that aren’t actually there and being over-protective to the point where no-one measures up.


There’s another factor at play here: because they’ve helped you through other breakups, you feel obliged to take their advice.

And part of their hypervigilant over-screening is (often subconsciously) driven by them not wanting another bout of teary 3am phone calls.

4. Friends have their own agenda

It suits some friends to make sure you remain single - and not just your single mates who like having someone to keep them company or go on the hunt with.

Some coupled-up friends get the best of both worlds when you’re out there dating, by living vicariously through you.

Then there are the ‘frenemies’: the people we think are our friends but aren’t.

They like us, they might even love us, but it’s love tainted by a toxic element like envy or jealousy.

If they’re already jealous of something you have but they don’t (a great body, better job or apartment), you having the perfect partner as well just doesn’t seem fair.

Instead of giving the thumbs up to your choice, they subtly sabotage, sowing the ‘Is he really good enough for you?’ seeds until your rose-coloured glasses are replaced with fault-finding magnifiers.

Just as your friends will advise you not to rush into love, I’d advise you not to rush into getting their opinions.

With perspective, they’re invaluable.

Without it, they’re dangerous.

Tracey’s books have lots more relationship and sex advice. Find them at