by Lucy Cavendish
Friends are invaluable when it comes to dating again. In fact, friends are invaluable full stop. But they are particularly useful when it comes to meeting new people.
This is a) because they can potentially provide you with a social network so that you can meet new people b) they can accompany you to events or dates via the internet that you may not wish to go to alone and c) if you do meet someone new, they can cast a quick eye over them and be relied upon to give you an honest opinion.
Who is better informed about you than your friends? Who has your best interests at heart? Who wants to see you fulfilled and happy? Your friends of course.
“Friends are wise shoulders to cry on and the perfect people to canvass opinion about anybody new.”
In my case, I met someone about a year after my marriage ended. I was feeling lonely and vulnerable. My friends had counselled me that it might be too early to date anyone seriously but I wasn’t listening.
I wanted a boyfriend. My ex had shacked up with someone else and so I wanted to prove that I too was as desirable as he was regardless of what anyone else said.
I wanted to wake up next to someone and spend weekend with them and it didn’t matter who they were. I didn’t realise this at the time and my friends were too kind to say. Instead what they did do was check out every man I paraded in front of them. When I finally met someone I really liked, they gave him time and space. They came out for dinner with us and were lovely to him but, after a couple of months, my best friend told me there was something about him she didn’t like.
What if it’s not what you want to hear?
“I don’t think he is trustworthy,” she said.
I didn’t want to listen to her but after she made her concerns known I watched him like a hawk. It turned out he wasn’t just two-timing me but three-timing me. I gave him the boot and that was that.
But friends are also there for other reasons than being guard dogs. They are also there for light relief and to big you up. There’s nothing more touching than introducing a new person to your friends and for them to give you a boost in front of someone by telling the new person how great you are. Friends are also good at lightening up an evening – they make you feel secure if you are feeling nervous.
I had a friend who, two years after her marriage broke down, contacted all of her friends and demanded they produce some single men for her to meet. She is now happily married to a man she met at one of them.
But, mainly, friends are there to share the good times, the fun, listen to the tales of dating and pick you up when the prince turns out to be a frog and be happy for you when the frog turns out to be a prince.
TOP FIVE TIPS
1) Involve your friends in your dating fun
2) Never cancel a date with a friend for a date with a new person
3) Remember your friendships are important and sustaining – dates come and go, friends stay forever.
4) Gradually introduce friends to a new partner – it can be scary on both sides
5) Be aware that your friends have feelings too – not all of them may want you to be happy especially if they fear losing their time with you
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