THE BLOG

Don't Lose Your Friends Over Love

06/06/2014 12:17 BST | Updated 06/08/2014 10:59 BST

How Should You React When Your Friends Don't Approve Of Your Relationship?

Choosing who you date is a very personal decision, however in this day and age of 'oversharing' on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc... it seems that more than the couple themselves have an opinion on who and when people should date. There are so many unwritten rules. What should one's friends do when they acquire unfavourable knowledge about your date? Where are the boundaries? Such a decision can no longer be taken without considering the ripple effect.

The three most common reasons why people's friends don't like the latest love interest provide insight into understanding where your friend is coming. Smoothing over any potential ructions before they occur can keep your friendship intact during your relationship.

1. They think they know something unfavourable about him

Everyone has their own personal deal-breakers in a relationship. Some people have very strict boundaries while others are more flexible in their approach. Some rules were made to never be broken but where do you and your friends stand on infidelity or more trivial matters such as picking up the bill at the end of the night, perhaps it is in opposing corners. Everyone has a right to an opinion but when your friend's non-negotiables are affecting your relationship or the way you feel about your relationship, it is time to speak up politely before matters become heated. Good friends can disagree comfortably if the conversation is handled in the right manner. If this is concerning you, internally shift your focus on the opinions of friends who approach relationships in a similar manner to yourself.

2. They do know something bad about him

They say "love is blind". The all-consuming feelings of attraction can overwhelm the individual to the point where they are genuinely blind to the red flags in their relationship. A really good friend will be more objective and tends to pick up on things you don't as their viewpoint is not clouded by high emotion. The behaviour you accept as loving & protective might be controlling & domineering. Their "chilled out" attitude could disguise laziness with a lack of responsibility. Losers can't hide their true colours for long so give them a second chance if you must but take your friend's advice as soon as you see more red flags. Be open to your friend's opinions but draw clear boundaries as to how much bad news you can take.

3. They are worried about you

We have all had friends who bring up the most awkward of conversation points such as "Do you really think your relationship is going to last", or those who practice tough love by saying "if you're happy to accept that behaviour don't come crying to me when it ends " In all these cases, your friend is trying to express their concern and steer you in the right direction as they see it. They have the benefit of objectivity and being outside of any emotional entanglement but they also only see the more public side to your partner and may not appreciate what you fell in love with about them. As always take their opinion into consideration but it is inevitably your choice that matters.

Overall, once you have identified what area is concerning your friend about your boyfriend getting over it is a two stage process.

The first stage is an external process which involves having an upfront conversation on the matter with your friend. Whether the conversation be about how you would appreciate your friend listen and not offer any opinion that may upset you on this matter or perhaps come to an agreement you will not air your concerns with your friend re your partner and you can both spend that extra time to focus on positive interests you both share.

The second stage is an internal one. When your friends offer feelings of dislike towards your significant other, the best tactic to avoid unhappiness is to appreciate their feelings are usually based upon their care for you and their own fears of watching you get hurt. These fears could be perceived projections from their past experiences or accurate observations from pattern recognition, either way they are coming from a place that is not trying to engage in battle so don't make it into one.

Preserving your friendship is paramount in these situations, if your relationship does work out then they will be happy that you are happy and if it doesn't you have a good friend waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces after of course they say "I told you so". No friend is perfect, but if they have survived this far then they are most likely perfect for you!