How to stop being so influenced by others when it comes to dating

What do you think – without your friends? (Picture: Getty / metro.co.uk)

Are you guilty of being swayed by the opinions of friends?

Friends can be valuable in letting us talk through dating dilemmas, helping us see red flags more clearly and be more logical in our decision making.

If friends are genuinely concerned about the new person in your life, you should probably listen.

But they can also wade in where it’s not wanted, casting doubt over things you otherwise felt clear on.

New research from dating app Hinge finds that gen Z are more reliant on their friends for dating advice than other generations.

An overwhelming 74% of those aged 18 to 24 wished they were more comfortable making dating decisions on their own, but they’re 30% more likely than millennials to feel stressed if they can’t talk to friends about who they’re seeing.

Somewhat unhelpfully, half of gen Z Hinge users admitted they’re not always being honest when offering their thoughts to their friends.

Unsurprising then, to hear that 86% of gen Z respondents have regretted following the dating advice of friends, fearing it was the wrong thing to do.

Logan Ury, the app’s director of relationship science, says you should keep the following in mind when consulting friends.

Use friends for accountability, not advice

Time for a reality check.

Logan says to ask: ‘What are the aspects of dating you want to work on? Are you too picky? Not picky enough?

‘Do you want to go on more dates? Do you want to avoid anxiously-attached folks or find someone secure?’

Once you’ve figured this out, then go to your pals.

‘Do the inner work to figure out your dating goals,’ she says.

‘Then share those goals with your friends and ask them to hold you accountable.

‘That way they are supporting you on your journey, not projecting their priorities onto you. Think about them as your cheerleaders – people who encourage you to achieve your goals – not your coach or adviser.’

illustration of two people talking outside a coffee shopTrTrust your own instincts (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Get in tune with yourself

Over half of gen Z Hinge singles say they have a hard time knowing what to do when it comes to their dating life.

‘One of the best ways to change your dating habits is to understand what’s holding you back in the first place,’ Logan says.

‘Check out books and podcasts on dating, attachment theory, what makes love last, and more.

‘Consider getting a therapist to learn more about yourself. The more in touch with your own feelings you are, the less you’ll rely on your friends to know what to do.’ 

Think before sending that text

Got something to get off your chest? Consider it first alone before running rapid fire to your friends – who will likely spur you on.

Logan says: ‘Don’t ask your friends for feedback before sending that text.

‘Journal instead of confessing every detail of the date over brunch.

‘Learn to be in conversation with yourself, instead of crowdsourcing your dating decisions.’

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Bring your friends in after you’ve been on a few dates

Form your own initial opinions first – we’re all looking for different things when dating to our friends.

Once you’re a little clearer, then invite them in.

‘Your friends are experts on you, but they’re not experts on dating,’ Logan says.

‘Once you’ve found you’re interested in someone, invite your friends to meet your new love interest.

‘But after the date, instead of asking your friends, “What did you think of them?” say, “What did you think of me around them?”

‘Did you seem open or closed off? Comfortable or censoring yourself? Relaxed or uptight?

‘They are able to pick up on things that you might miss, especially if you’re smitten with your new match. You want to select someone who brings out the best side of you.’

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