DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I tried searching your site to find any stories about this, but didn’t find anything in the results mainly by title. Anyway, to the point, I wanted to ask if you have any tips in dating when the issue is that you may like the girl (or guy) you are dating, but you dislike (some of) her friends? Specifically, if you think some are enablers of bad behavior and/or having a negative influence on the girl (or guy) you are dating; and even worse if they also may not even like you anyway in return.
I think you must have come across this situation before and/or been asked this question right?
I am somewhat conflicted about this topic. For some things I read online, they seem to indicate that the friends your date have may determine your own compatibility with the date; that they can be red flags of issues to come. Other things I’ve read mentions about how you should try to be friendly with and/or impress your date’s friends so that they can provide some sort of positive feedback to your date by winning their approval. I know I can’t expect her to confront or disregard her long-time friends just for me as just a new date in her life. But I also definitely feel there are some stark contrasts/difference between her friends and I – compared to herself and I – which can lead to tensions, if not now then in the future.
How should I approach this situation?
Love Me, Love My Friends?
DEAR LOVE ME, LOVE MY FRIENDS: As a general rule, you can tell a lot about someone by who they hang out with. The saying that “you’re the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with” is fairly accurate. After all, we tend to connect with people who are like us; if you’re not a big fan of their friends, then the odds aren’t great that you two will be a good match.
But that’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule. God knows plenty of people don’t have friends so much as “friends”; people they associate with and may call their friends but who are actually incredibly toxic.
Similarly: it’s generally true that the opinion of a person’s friends can affect their decision about who they date or how long their partner sticks around. But it’s also incredibly common that folks date someone that their friends all hate.
(Notice very carefully that I’m trying to be gender-neutral about this. This is a phenomena that reaches across the entire gender spectrum.)
Now it’s a little unclear from your letter whether this is a thought experiment on your part or if this is something you’re dealing with right now. But in either case, I’d say that if you’re finding that you and your date get along like a house on fire, but you and her friends don’t mesh, it’s worth examining just why that may be. There can be a number of reasons why you and they may not get along that doesn’t mean that they’re either toxic for her or that spell doom for you. It could be that she had some bad experiences and her friends are very protective. It could be that you are someone who’s outside of her norm and they feel put off by that. Or you may have accidentally made a faux-pas out of ignorance or not being as up on some topics as they are.
Or it could be that you and they are just diametrically opposed in some way and that’s going to make it very difficult to get their approval (or for them to get yours).
But while our friends can influence who we decide to date… dating isn’t a democracy. If your partner is into you and you and she have something good going on, then that’s between you and her. The best thing I could recommend is to demonstrate that you’re somebody with honor and integrity who treats her with respect. You and they may never click or mesh well, but that’s ok; you don’t need to be best friends with HER best friends, any more than she needs to be BFFs with yours. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having “your friends, my friends and our friends”; having separate social lives is good for the long-term success of relationships.
Although if they’re assholes or Trump voters, then nobody would blame you for not really wanting to hang with them in the first place.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m a woman with a dating question—particularly a dating app question! I matched with a guy on Hinge about 2 weeks ago. I sent him a like first, he liked me, then we matched. He left it up to me to start the conversation; I was super busy so I never got the chance to message him, but I finally messaged him a couple of days ago. He hasn’t answered yet, what do I do?
We happen to attend the same university, and we have a mutual friend or two. We’ve never spoken in person, but would it be weird to friend him on Instagram (in hopes that he replies to my message on Hinge)? Thanks in advance—I really want this to work out with this guy!
Left On Read
DEAR LEFT ON READ: You don’t do anything, LOR. The ball’s in his court. It’s on him to respond or not respond.
Here’s the thing: there’re a lot of reasons why someone might not have responded yet. It could be that he’s not terribly active on Hinge and so he hasn’t seen that you responded or hasn’t logged in to see your message. You, after all, were super-busy before you messaged him; the same could be true on his end. Or it could be that he’s shy and isn’t sure how to respond. Alternately, he feels like it’s been too long for him to reply and now it would be awkward if he did.
Or — and this one always kinda sucks — it could be that he’s not that interested. He might have been just casually browsing Hinge and swiping on people without really being that interested in dating. Alternately, he might have matched with you, but decided to pursue something with someone else who messaged him before you did. Or — in what is the most unfortunate but likely scenario — he wasn’t that into you but swiped right on you just in case. This, unfortunately, is a really common thing that men do, especially on dating apps with swiping or “yes/no” mechanics: they swipe right on everyone in order to maximize potential matches, and then decide who they’re actually interested in after they match. Women, on the other hand, tend to only swipe on people they’re actually into. So many times, women will match with somebody that they really liked, only to discover that he was just trying to get a little serotonin boost from seeing the number on the notification badge go up.
What you don’t want to do, however, is jump to a different app to to try to connect with him. Or take it offline for that matter. This is a thing that a lot of guys do; they may get rejected on Tinder or Hinge, but message that person on Instagram instead in hopes of trying to get a second shot. It’s intrusive, it’s cringey and it’s an indication that they feel like their desire to get a date (or a blowjob or…) overrides her stated lack of interest. And while the dynamics are different when you reverse the genders — on average, women pose far less of a physical threat to men than men do to women — it’s still intrusive and not cool. Doing so in person is, likewise, not cool, for much the same reason; it ends up tells the person that you’re ignoring what is, in all likelihood, a soft no, because you don’t like the answer.
I say this because, at the end of the day, no answer is an answer. It’s “I’m not interested”, and that’s the end of the discussion. If he is interested, but hasn’t gotten back to you for reasons… well, he knows you messaged him. It’s on him to make the next move.
And if you do run into him in person… I wouldn’t bring this up unless he does. You can chat, flirt and see if the in-person interaction makes things easier than the potential awkward of a late reply on a dating app, and “hey, you never responded to my message on Hinge” can be a cute thing to discuss down the line if the two of you hit it off and go on a date or two. But unless that happens, bringing it up is going to be more cringe-inducing than romance-facilitating.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org