Posted by: Andrea | March 24, 2009

Red flags

Hello all, yes I know I’ve been neglecting my blog.  It’s very bad.  Can I say that work has been really crazy?  Or maybe that I’ve just been SO BUSY?  Or, um…my mom is getting a new dog and needs help picking a name?  Ok no, those are all lies, I’ve just been lazy.  But my mom IS getting a new dog.  I’ve had stuff I wanted to write about but for some reason whenever I’d get home the couch would start calling to me and I’d fall into it and never get out.  It’s a real hazard.

So yeah, anyway, I was reading this article online about ‘true dating confessions’ which were ultimately not that exciting (‘I’ve never waxed ‘down there’!’  ‘My boyfriend is shorter than me!’).  But one kind of rang true to me and made me think.  That topic would be, ‘My boyfriend has no friends.’ As a person who once had a boyfriend who had no friends and who then turned into a crazy-eyed possessive raving lunatic, my first thought was, ‘RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!’

I’ve always felt that this was a big red-flag in a dating situation, because it’s a relatively innocuous if somewhat odd thing that can hide a variety of more deep-seated issues.  Ever since dating THE CRAZY I have made it a personal policy not to date anybody who has no friends.  I have a few reasons for this, pretty much all of which are based on that one dating experience.  Just for the record, those reasons are as follows:

1.    I’m a very social person.  I like going out and spending time with friends and I enjoy meeting new people.  I talk.  A lot.  I love having a good debate and I spend a lot of time with my friends, also talking.  A lot.  My assumption about people with no friends is that they aren’t super comfortable in large social situations.  Otherwise, if they liked these situations, wouldn’t they seek them out?  Perhaps actually MAKE FRIENDS with people to then hang out with?  I’d hope that my partner would want to spend time with me and my friends and would feel comfortable doing so.  There’s nothing worse than being in a social situation and knowing that your significant other is having a miserable time and is basically being a big ‘ole wet blanket.

2.    I think it’s very important that a couple do things separately from time to time.  It’s crucial that I have my own interests and my partner has his and we spend time doing these things apart from each other.  I encourage my boyfriends to go out and hang out with their friends, do their ‘guy things’ while I also fully expect to be able to go out and do the same with my friends.  But what if the boyfriend has no friends?  It’s just a constant string of ‘where are you going?  What are you doing?  Who are you talking to?  Can’t I come?’  NO YOU CANNOT COME.  Do your own thing.

3.    The flipside of this (and this was the situation with my ex) is that the partner-with-no-friends will start believing that the only thing you would never need is each other.  Why do you need friends?  YOU HAVE ME.  With my ex he truly believed that I had arrived in his life to fill his every social void and that he would never need anyone else but me.  When I respectfully disagreed with this position, he started getting jealous of my friends and generally acted like a total self-righteous prick at all times.  (And yes, I know this is seriously controlling behaviour and the relationship didn’t last much past this point).  The other aspect of this is when the partner-with-no-friends thinks you have arrived with a brand new social circle just for him.  Neither way is fun.

4.    My final reason, and again, this is totally based on my one experience (and remember, HE WAS CRAZY), but I think there’s something just a bit…off about someone who can’t make friends.  Or I guess I should say that I think it could be a sign of bigger issues if someone chooses to live a completely solitary life.  I can’t say all the reasons this could be, but I do think it could be a sign of bigger problems to come.  It’s a pretty big-ass red flag, is all I’m saying.

I haven’t actually come across that many people who have no friends, but during my recent foray into internet dating I emailed a few times with a guy who said he ‘didn’t know too many people in Glasgow.’  This turned out to be…um…like one person.  He has no friends here.  At first I was like, well, um, that could be explained, I guess…but then it transpired that he has been living in Glasgow for four years and doesn’t really know anybody.  That, combined with the fact that he was excessively keen to get to know me, started making me a bit hesitant (and I mean EXCESSIVELY keen.  Like in one email he said we should ‘try a fun game’ and then emailed me a numbered list of questions to answer, including a question about my ‘dress sense.’  Um, huh?)  He seemed nice enough, but the ‘no friends’ thing kind of got to me and it never went anywhere.

Of course, I went and read the comments on that article and then I felt like a totally judgemental bitch.

Not everyone is like you. Some people like a few close friends. Some people like a million friends that are usually superficial friendships. And some people would rather be alone or with their bf/gf. There is no real NORMAL for this subject. Having more friends doesn’t make you better than someone with less friends.

I urge you to act in the best interest of those people who are different than you and stop placing labels and judging people, or try to change them to assimilate to your needs.

Ok, point noted.  I’m awful.  But even with all of that, I still think I’d seriously question dating somebody who didn’t have any friends.  I know that’s mainly based on my previous experience, but still.  Am I totally alone on this one?  Do I have a point, or am I just an awful judgemental person who should never be allowed to date?


Responses

  1. Recently I reconnected with someone who was the older brother of a high school friend. As he was 6 years older, the only interaction we had was with rubber band fights. Thanks to Facebook, we’re now friends again although before a few months ago I hadn’t seen him let alone thought of him for 20 years.

    I knew he lived in DC when was there but we never connected. Why? I lived in DC and he lived 90 minutes outside DC. He was married with kids. He’s 6 years older than me.

    It’s been weird that after he saw me on a business trip, he now calls and texts me frequently. I’ve never initiated contact. Sometimes I ignore him because, to be honest, if I’m a happily married guy with kids, why am I calling a single woman?

    He called a few weeks ago and blah blah blah. I was ready to hang up after asking a million questions about his family and soon-to-be adopted son from China. He says that we need to talk. Say what? He wanted to let me know that he was in love with his wife and no interested in me. OK. Good. Not interested in you. He kept going on and on and it was incredibly awkward. Finally he said that he enjoyed talking to me because he didn’t have any friends outside of his wife.

    So here’s my point: men (or women) in relationships who have cut off all ties with their friends are doing themselves a dangerous disservice. Keep your friends and make new ones!

  2. I think you definitely have a point. I’m big on personal space and doing my own thing and if your partner doesn’t have any friends then you never have “me time”. People need that time or else they suffocate.

  3. See, that’s exactly the point Pammy, people DO need someone to talk to other than their significant other! Maybe there are some relationships where people only need each other, but I know for myself, I need my space. It’s healthy!

  4. I have some friends. Since my best friend and I “broke up,” my social life consists a lot of being with E and his friends. But I am friends with those friends and I go do things with them even when he’s not there, so that’s nice.

    I’m not good at making friends. I’m kind of mean and caustic when you first meet me.


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