I would guess that the most common topic of conversation between many friends is their love lives. Endless conversations, phone calls and coffee breaks are spent analyzing the latest fling, date or text message.
What did the other person mean? Do they like me? Will there be a second date? Is it gonna get serious? Do I like them?
And if things go bad a million other questions get up on the table. What went wrong? Was it me? Can I get them back? Will I ever find someone else?
On and on it goes, and hopefully your friends are there to listen, support and share their advice. It usually makes it all feel better, but I want to challenge how wise it is to listen to your friends in this regard. Cause there are a few problems with that.
1. First of all, do your friends know more than you about successful dating? Or are they just as confused as you? Are you taking advice from someone who means very well, but doesn’t really know what they are talking about? That might not be the best idea.
2. Friends who are successful in their dating life might actually be even worse to ask for advice since they usually have what is called “unconscious competence”, which means that they don’t know what they are doing that is working. To them it actually feels like it just happens when it happens or that all you have to do is be yourself, and it all works out. That’s great for them, but if you are having problems, you need to talk to someone who understands those problems and can explain how to solve them, in an explicit and clear way.
3. Even though your friends know you well, they have probably never been on a date with you. All they hear about your dates is your subjective retelling of it. And they are probably assuming that you are the same awesome person on your dates as you are with them. But are you? Most people behave very differently with their friends versus on a date. And most of us aren’t even aware ourselves about all the weird things we start doing when we get nervous or interested or afraid of being rejected.
Keep this in mind when you are asking your friends for advice – or when they come to you for advice.