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Unpopular opinion: we shouldn’t turn to our mates for dating advice

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

‘Should we turn to our friends for dating advice?’

Interesting question, right? I mean we’ve all been there. Whether we’ve started seeing someone new and are uber-excited (whoop, whoop!!), or we’ve been seeing someone for a while now and are seeking advice from our friends. Or, alternatively, we’ve got a new crush in our romantic sphere and are all in our feels about it.

I mean I know I’ve turned to my mates for advice on my love life many times. On countless occasions. In pretty much every location, both soberly and not-so-soberly, i.e. drunk moments in club toilets (very classy, Anna).

And the tv and film we consume, particularly that of the rom-com-esque genre, perpetuates the idea that we should do this. Whether it be over coffee, drunkenly turning to them or even rallying your entire friend group around you to get some guidance (think Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte style).

But maybe just maybe this approach isn’t exactly the right one. At least not in the way we’ve been made to believe.

Logan Ury’s pretty against us turning to our mates for dating advice, at least in the way we usually do. Ury’s book ‘How to Not Die Alone‘ offers pretty sound reasons for thinking about the approach we take when seeking advice from our close pals. Advice we should definitely take into consideration seeing as Ury’s Director of Relationship Science for Hinge (pretty cool, right?).

The most paramount reason we shouldn’t turn to our friends about our bae (or aspirational bae) is that their advice is bound to be clouded by their personal experiences and personal preferences. What we need to do first is define what it is exactly that we want. What are our personal goals and priorities when it comes to our relationship? And most importantly, are they being met or could they be met by the person we’re thinking of pursuing?

Then, only then, according to Ury should we turn to our mates. And we should do this so they can help us achieve our romantic goals and priorities. In this way, they should be like our cheerleaders as opposed to our relationship teachers or gurus. What’s emphasised is that we have to do introspective work first. We need to figure out what we want ourselves before we look to our friends.

I mean this makes sense. Whilst our friends are bloody brilliant they’re not exactly mind readers. And if you’re looking for your friends to be your personal relationship gurus then it’s impossible for them to give you appropriate advice if you’re not clear as to what you desire first. The best question to ask is not necessarily how your friends find the person you’re seeing or looking to date, but rather what they make of the way this person makes you feel.

Namely, does this person light you up and make you radiate positive energy? are you a better person because of them and do they make your day? do you come away from interactions with them feeling lighter? Does this person add to your life and is this noticeable?

We can’t expect our friends to be experts on a person they know nothing about. Or someone they know little to nothing of. But they do know ourselves. And they know when we glow or when our behaviour is negatively impacted by how someone else is treating us or not treating us. So, before you ask your friends about this person. Think again. Think about what you want. Your goals. Your desires. Think about what you want.

Does the person you’re taken with align with the above and do they make you glow? Friends will be able to tell you whether they think this person adds to your life, or effectively whether you’re better off with out them and need to make a Beyoncé-empowerment-moving-on playlist pronto.

Hi, my name's Anna and I'm a third year BA Philosophy and Theology student at the University of Exeter. I'm interested in writing pieces on current affairs and sex and relationships (and Harry Styles because I'm such a huge fan, haha).