Your friends, they love you and want the best for you. However, can their opinions about your relationship be more damaging than good? Should your friend's opinions about your SO be crucial to whether the relationship lasts?
Bridget Jones once said that friends "spend years trying to find you a boyfriend, but the moment you get one, they instantly tell you to dump him!". This quote, although in jest, does often ring true. I don't believe that there are usually any malicious intents, merely your friends want you to have perfection, but sadly this doesn't exist, so they will always be disapointed.
Relationships don't happen in a vacuum, so unfortunately the idea of keeping your friends and SO separate is neither plausible or healthy. Felmlee in 2001 found that the "social network effect" emerges, thus the social network effects our relationships with romantic partners- enhancing it when the social ties approve but their disapproval can therefore lead to the relationship ending.
We care what our friends think, because their opinions matter to us and we take them on board in most sectors of our lives- it is only natural to think twice about a relationship if a friend doesn't approve.
However, the main thing to remember is that it isn't their relationship. No-one can truly know, or understand, the dynamic you and your partner have apart from the two of you. Unless your partner really is a piece of sh*t, then your friends shouldn't have a deciding say. If they don't like his personality, or aren't sure that your life goals align, these are concerns they can raise but should never tell you how to act or feel.
Their preferences don't have to be the same as yours. These are your mistakes to make. They may, ultimately, be right about the fate of your relationship but just because they have this perspective doesn't mean you do yet- we all need to go through relationships, good and bad, to realise what we want.
We have all been blinded by love or lust before, but this blindness only lasts so long. We all eventually wake up, and face the reality, in the meantime your friends should only be their to support you. To listen, and offer advice if you ask for it and to tell you "I told you so" when it ends- they should not give you ultimatums, or make your life harder than it already is. There's tough love and then there's being a straight up b*tch.
You're lying if you say you haven't been on both sides of this debate- we've all been the friend getting too involved whilst thinking we're helping, and we've all been the friend in a sh*t relationship trying to block out the voices of concern.
Know your place as a friend, know where the line is, and remember that the only opinion that matters in your relationship is your own. If it is true love, they'll come around. If it's not, they'll be there with a bottle of wine and ice cream.
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