How Friends Can Help Or Harm Your Dating Life

friends influencing relationshipsImagine a private conversation between the man you are dating and his closest friend. It’s a conversation never meant to reach your ears. Your boyfriend is discussing both the good and the bad of his experience with you so far.

“Don’t get me wrong, I really do like her. I like her a lot, but her friends kind of…”

What do you think would come next if this was your boyfriend talking? How would he finish this sentence? “Her friends kind of…”

Your friends can help or harm your relationships in many different ways, but today I am just pointing out one issue you may want to check on.

Here’s the issue. If you hang out with people who are a lot like you, they will attract guys into your life who are kind of like your friends. Hopefully that’s a good thing in your mind. If the idea of attracting men who fit in with your friends makes you happy, there’s nothing you need to do. You’re set.

However, several different problems can arise if you don’t like the idea of dating a man with similar habits, hobbies, interests, economic status, lifestyle choices, or other traits your friends have.

Which of these two folk sayings is actually true?

•Birds of a feather flock together.

•Opposites attract.

Opposites generally do not attract. If they do, the long-term satisfaction in the relationship will be lower. Yes, birds of a feather really do flock together. The more similar you are to your lover, the longer and more satisfying the relationship will be. I’m not making this up. I’m just relaying to you what social psychologists have discovered when they researched this question regarding those two common proverbs.

If your friends are very similar to you, they can actually help you filter out men who are not right for you. When your friends are very much like you, a guy who is not like you will not enjoy spending time around them, and it will become clear he does not fit in. This will help you make a decision to end the relationship if he does not end it himself.

If you have been spending a lot of time with people you think are fun, but not the kind of people who represent your deepest core values, your lifestyle, or some other important aspect of who you are, you might be accidentally repelling men who would otherwise stick around.

Am I being heartless by suggesting you re-evaluate the people you spend time with? Don’t get me wrong. You should not dump your friends just to please a guy.

What I’m saying is, friendships often come and go with the circumstances of your life. They don’t move across the country with you when you get a new job or decide the air in Arizona would be better for your allergies. If you’re in the dating game in search of marriage, a husband will stick with you through these circumstances.

friends influencing relationshipsJust keep in mind how important it is to attract the kind of person you want to spend your life with. One of the key principles I teach in my courses is that you need to show up in the kinds of situations and places where the type of man you want to end up with frequently shows up. This email represents a minor segment of that concept.

Wishing you all the best!


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19 thoughts on “How Friends Can Help Or Harm Your Dating Life

  1. Michelle said:

    Hey James. I just want to say I appreciate you. Your input on relationships is genuine and sensible and I think your blogs are way better than any of the other contributors who you feature. Just saying :-))

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you, Michelle!

  2. James ,
    I dated a guy for a bout six months. We decided that we could not be in a relationship. So we kept it or called it Friday night fun dates. Well we could not keep our hands off of each others . Well James long story short we have told each o yt? her no. I have cries over him . Told him no. Bc I was suppose to get married We almost did the deed and we got caught by the kids
    Well so we stop. So he and I see other people. He also tells me that he was going to Chang he’s number and that he was not going to give it to me. They break up he calls. Well we have dinner. He ask me if I want to have sex I tell him no. But of course I do. But y does he keep doing this to me. I ask him he does not answer he grabs me. I ask him the real reason. My Christian self I can’t to so that. Does he live me or does he only want me for sex. Y does he keep calling me. Well since I told him no and told him I would treat him like my guy friend he us being well ignoring me and being kind of rude. Would not answer y he called me? April

    • James Bauer said:

      April. I understand your curiosity. You want to know why. Yet finding the answer to that question will not help. It seems to me that you already know what’s best in the situation. Look forward rather than looking back.

  3. sue said:

    dear James
    I am 49 and man I am seeing for about 10 months is 59. when we start seeing each other we were together almost every day. he was so sweet and kind. After 2 months we slept together and he stop calling me often as before then he told me that he does not want commitment and he never left. we still seeing each other for diner or coffee and we still have sex…He never wanted to meet any my friends and I never meet any his friends… I like him very much.. what do you think can we stay together or so…

    • James Bauer said:

      Sue, it really comes down to what you want. From your question, I’m guessing you do not want the relationship the way it currently stands (with no commitment).

      I encourage men and women to be honest with each other about what kind of relationship they want. It allows both people to see what they’re really getting involved in. He has been honest with you about his lack of interest in a committed relationship. If you choose to ignore that, do so with your eyes wide open. I don’t recommend you stay in the relationship hoping he will change his position on that.

      • sue said:

        Thank you very much James…

  4. Joyceline said:

    Thanks James, nice article

  5. victoria said:

    James, i have great friends. My issue is that the majority of them are 10 years younger. Im attracting men that are way too young for me to date seriously. Fun, but not lasting…
    Im very youthful in attitude and energy and look very young for my age (philipino luck). Any ideas on finding ways to hang with my besties but also find a nice man my age? Thanks!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Naturally, giving up on your friends is not your preferred solution. Here’s a different solution. If they are young, energetic, and adventurous, they might be up for the challenge of helping you mingle with people closer to your age. If they really care about you, tell them the truth about your situation. Explain your dilemma. You don’t want to ditch them, but you want to find a guy your age. Ask them to brainstorm with you about ways you could (as a group) bring dating prospects into your circle some of the time during group events. That could mean going to different kinds of locations, participating in different types of activities, or even just co-mingling with other groups of people who are closer to your age.

  6. barbie said:

    I think I see ur point clearly, thank u james !!

  7. Radwa said:

    Mr , James ,
    I would like to know your openion of ( if he really loves you , he will do anything for you )
    as i am seeing a guy & i want to do something that may endanger his reputation at work , & he refuses to do that . my friends & family says , if he loves me , he will do anything for me .
    I do love him so much & he tells me all the time the same .
    so is this statement is true ?
    thanks sir .

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Radwa. In any relationship, both partners need to work toward the well-being of both their partner and themselves. For some reason, you and he disagree about what that looks like in this particular situation involving his job. Is that correct?

      You think the combined impact of the decision you are referring to would be the best choice for his life and yours? If so, start with an honest dialogue with him about that. See if you can learn why he disagrees with you. It may be that problems at work would ultimately harm your relationship rather than help it. See what he thinks about that. There’s no one simple answer to your question, though it is a good question. It really depends on what a person requests. Obviously there are many things a person would request that a lover would deny even if they were deeply in love with the requesting partner.

      • Lena said:

        Hello Everyone,

        I think this is great to have an open dialogue with your BF! It feels so relieved to make him open up and talk with you. But from my own and my friends’ experiences I learned that men are Not able to have an open dialogue with their ladies. Some men, like James, who made it their profession, can be opened for dialogue to discuss issues, but most of men are Not. It takes so much energy and skills to bring up the subject for discussion with your man, and he seams to be agree to discuss the issues with you. But when the dialogue starts, and you opened your heart, and began telling him what is not working in relationship. Your BF is replying to your first statement only, then he completely shut down, and not able to express anything further or come to any solution of this issue. He may say “Let me think about it, I will get back to you.” And he never gets back really, even avoiding talking about it in the future. Men just want to wrap it up (the dialogue) as soon as they can, because they obviously have nothing good to say, and they don’t like to make you sad or frustrated. So they Are Not Opening Up at any circumstances, unless they are ready to break up with you. And this will be the last dialogue with him anyway.
        I am wondering, if there is another way to work on relationship issues, than open discussion with the man?

        I hope you were able to understand my point here.

  8. I have been married to a guy who is wonderfully social while am a little bit conservative.He also likes social places like the dance floor and pubs. Though we have been married for the last 23 years i d this was not the best for me.I have accompanied to his joints but i stopped when i have realized there is a lot of him cheating on me with other women.Am just surviving because of the children but he is not my dream man. In fact i’m waiting to see my youngest child who is in class 8 through high school then i can move on with my i’m just suffocating and wondering if i can get a man to share my life with.

    • James Bauer said:

      It’s sad to hear of the way he has disregarded the possibility of something wonderful in his relationship with you. I hope you find joy in the coming years, but don’t wait until then to embrace what is still good in the present. Wishing you well!

  9. Vivian said:

    I think it depends with what parts of your personality are opposite and what parts are the same. I recently dated a guy who I had a lot in common with. We had the same goofy sense of humour, loved food, had similar childhoods growing up in a big family (and as a result a lot of the same childhood insecurities having to compete for attention and having an older sibling overshadow us for most of our teenage years) and were true at heart romantics. We got along famously, talked every day, and generally enjoyed each other’s company.
    Soon, he wanted us to take it to the next level and become exclusive. I told him that during our many conversations, I’d realized that although we had a lot in common, our common values and viewpoints on things that would make or break us as a romantic couple (views on dating and monogamy, children, and even career paths and habits) were polar opposites. I saw us staying good friends as we enjoyed chatting to each other at the end of every day and just unwinding and joking over various trivia but I knew our very different viewpoints and ways of approaching things would have us at each other’s throats in no time. He didn’t see it the same way and figured since we got along so well as friends, it should carry over into a romantic relationship. We have since stopped communicating altogether which is sad as I think we could have had a great thing just staying friends.

    • Lena said:


      Sounds like you are not romantically involved with this guy, and he is/was. The fact that he proposed you to become exclusive and move to the next level of relationship is a great proposition! But you did not like this idea and would prefer to stay just like friends. That disappointed him, I think.
      I hope, if you like this guy enough, you may reinstate the friendship with him and possibly move to the next level of the relationship with him, if you change your mind about it. It is up to him to accept it or not after being rejected. Men do not like being rejected and don’t forget/forgive it easily.

      I wish you the best in this situation.


  10. JANE JUMA said:


    Opposites attract: your will never be bored because there is so much to work through as you become soul mates. You must have more of similar interests. I have been married for 33 years to a man who is not active in sports while I am. He can watch soccer on TV and take time to go to a stadium; but he has never watched me play netball ( I am also a coach) or even swim. His friends are world apart from mine and right now I find him boring. He likes indoor games and I love the outdoor; I can go camping and he cannot even imagine how. He loves singing; I cannot sing well, but I love hearing him sing and I listen to music of all sorts. We are both born again christians. I work for an Insurance Company while he is a clergyman. You must find a point or points where you interests converge and give support even where the sport is not your favorite. It is give and take. If the guy doors not make you loose a heartbeat; do not bother.

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