A guy’s friends — or lack thereof — tells you a lot about him.
After you’ve dated a guy a time or two, mentions of his friends often waft into the conversation. When you hear him talk about both male and female friends, it is a good sign — at least it can be, depending on what you notice when you actually meet them.
But if he has no friends, it can be a yellow — or even red — flag. If his only friends are his kids, siblings or parents, that says there may be some relationship-stunting going on. He hasn’t learned how to build bonds beyond those with shared DNA. Let’s examine why he might not have non-family friends:
- He’s extremely shy. If that’s okay with you, no problem. Know that if you take him to parties or out with your friends he’ll be quiet. You may find him reading a book in the corner while you’re meeting interesting new people. Or he may just decline your invitation to accompany you, so you will be alone at social events.
- He is a loner. He likes solo activities, hiking, biking, swimming, small-craft sailing, so hasn’t had a need to find others to hang with. Maybe he works alone, so doesn’t have much opportunity to meet others.
- He has an extremely busy life, with kids, long work hours, and taking care of aging parents. Although even with hectic schedules, people often strike up friendships with co-workers, other kids’ parents, or those from common circles (church, gym, neighbors).
- He has a low “affiliation need.” He doesn’t need others for him to function well, so he doesn’t seek people. He’s an introvert.
- He’s socially inept or doesn’t mix well with people. He makes inappropriate, mean, base comments, or tells off-color jokes to those who don’t want to hear them. He teases people ruthlessly about areas which they are sensitive (balding, weight, age). He’s immature. People don’t like being around him. He could be attentive to you one-on-one, but brash around others.
If a guy has only a few good friends, I make a mental note of it, but it’s not a deal breaker, as some people only need a few good friends. However, if he only has one friend with whom he works and hasn’t kept relationships beyond current workmates, that’s a yellow flag. It says something to me about his ability to keep a relationship going without the convenience of seeing each other every day. And if he is always the one initiating contact, that says there isn’t much of a deep friendship. Or he chooses friends who are self-absorbed.
What if he has friends?
Maybe his friends are pleasant, thoughtful, mature, responsible and inclusive of you. This is a great sign as it shows he knows how to pick people who reflect values you, too, admire.
However, if when you meet his friends they seem to be stuck in reliving their college days — including college-level behaviors — that also tells you a lot. Can they discuss more than the latest ball game, or tell you great things about your date? Or are they all slinging insults so fast they don’t know how to sincerely share their respect for your guy? (Yes, some men show their fondness of each other through insults, but wouldn’t you like to occasionally hear, “Fred is a great guy” instead of always, “Why are you hanging around with this pudgy, balding loser?”)
And how do they treat you? Are they welcoming and glad your guy has found someone wonderful like you? Or do they treat you like the booty du jour? Do they ask about you and your life, or are you just his momentary arm candy?
If your relationship deepens, his friends’ feelings toward you and yours toward them can make or break your connection. If they don’t like you, they will bad mouth you to him. If you don’t like them, it causes strain whenever he wants to be with them. So if they aren’t thugs, misogynists or total losers, keep your opinion to yourself.
What have you notice about your dates’ friends and how did it impact your relationship?
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