Friday, March 16

You Are Your Friends

A couple of weeks ago a bunch of us were discussing the influence of friends over the choosing of a potential partner. It was declared how typical it was for some to fall into the trap of wanting a partner that their mates would like, rather than one who would be be right for them as an individual. It was unanimously decided that this was A Bad Thing. Well alright, not quite unanimously.

Firstly, I'm not quite sure how true this is anyway. I mean, sure, there is sometimes a requirement for trophy partners and the like. But if I wanted someone who was pretty it would be because I wanted someone who was pretty. That she also happens to cause envy in other men would just be a bonus. Cough cough and all that.

Secondly, I'm not quite sure it's wise to totally disregard friends when deciding if a potential is right. Of course, others should never be influencing your decision in a direct and blatant manner and it is you that has to live with the person you choose and not anyone else. But I reckon that the manner in which a partner interacts with your existing friends is a very useful tool to determine how they will get on with you too.

I think that there's a lot behind the phrase "you are who your friends are" (although checking on Google, it seems this isn't as common a phrase as I first thought it was. Hmm). I mean there's a reason why you can describe these particular people as mates right? It's more about just liking someone; or at least it's very likely that you like someone because a part of them are just like you. And perhaps there were too many "like"s in that last sentence, but that just goes to prove my point.

You also assimilate certain qualities from your existing friends. So if someone swears a lot, then you might pick that up; if a friend shows respect to the opposite sex, then that may be something you do after a while too. So overall your friends as a collective are a pretty accurate depiction of you I reckon.

And therein lies my reasoning. If a potential partner doesn't like a specific group or subset of your friends because of the specific quality that defines them, then that implies that they don't like the same quality in you either. Now, I don't mean to say that that they all have to like the same things, but if a partner declared that she "couldn't stand" some of my mates, alarm bells would start ringing in my head. It would indicate to me that she may not like an aspect of me either.

Let's take sport for example and say a girl can't stand football. Now, whether the guy himself is obsessive or not, the fact that he has a bunch of mates who are means that it's a pretty important part of his persona. If the girl in this situation tends to distance herself from those friends, then she probably doesn't like her bloke enjoying sport either. For some reason she ignores or accepts it in him.

For the sake of balance, let's take religion as another example. If a guy thinks his partner's friends are all over-zealous religious nutcases, then he probably feels the same about the part of her that made them all friends in the first place. But again, for some reason he ignores or accepts it in her. And these are concrete qualities - friends get together for far more abstract things that can't be nailed down as a single interest or topic, like a certain sense of humour or behaviour.

There is a counterpoint about balance and compromise and how the other things a person has to offer may compensate for the bits that aren't preferred. And that's all right to a certain extent, but if a quality of a person is so strong that it manifests itself in a group of friends, then I'd argue that it's too big to cover up in that fashion.

That, and the fact that I wouldn't want a partner to "tolerate" or need to compensate any part of me that she doesn't like. I know no two people are alike, but I totally believe that it's possible to like the same people in spite of that.