Over the years, I've had relationships with people my friends loved and people my friends loathed, and trust me when I say it's much better when the people you care about get along. That's because despite everyone having the best intentions (you hope, anyway), when your friends don’t support your relationship or even like your partner at all, it puts you in a seriously award position: right in the middle.
Apart from being an uncomfortable situation, your friends' concerns or outright dislike of your partner can also be a sign that there might actually be something less than great happening in your relationship that you might be too close to see, but that your friends can. This is why Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and executive dating coach, tells Elite Daily you shouldn't dismiss their reservations without hearing them out. "It’s not a red flag if they don’t support your relationship, but it may be a yellow flag," he warns, adding that it doesn't automatically spell doom for your relationship either. "You'd like your friends to support your relationship. In a perfect world, your BFFs would totally support your love life. But the world is not perfect, and you can’t determine your happiness based on what others think of you — including your friends."
How seriously you should take their advice is also dependent on how close you are with the critical friends, Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily. “If it’s someone who always has your back and best interests in mind, then it is worth looking at how your relationship affects them as they may see things you can’t see. If they aren’t a close friend then it may not be a big factor and you can be selective as to when you hang out with them,” she explains.
If you find yourself in this complicated situation, here's how the experts say to handle it.
Hear Your Friends Out
The first step, says Barrett, is to get to the bottom of the issue by talking to your friends. “Find out what their concerns are. They may have some good points, but even if you think they're off-base, they want to be heard by you. So give them the gift of listening,” he advises.
Just make to stay emotionally open and receive what they have to say, adds Dorell. “Get grounded so when you talk to your friend[s]… you are coming from an emotionally neutral space and can listen to their concerns,” she says. Afterwards, she explains it's important to sit with the information and process it. “Pay attention to how you feel about three to five minutes after they leave your presence," she suggests. "This is when your intuition will be extra heightened. Write down what it’s telling you and what you feel as it’s likely right on.”
Most importantly, remember that your friends are saying something because they care. “No matter what their reasons are, remember that they have your best intentions in mind, even if you disagree,” says Barrett.
Be Grateful For Your Friends' Honesty
If you’ve ever been in the position your friend or friends are currently in, you know that saying negative things about a friend's partner can be really difficult, because you risk alienating your friend. This is why Barrett says it's important to let your friends know that they can talk to you about their feelings without risking the friendship. “Thank them,” says Barrett. “Don’t disagree or get into a fight, because that can only hurt your friendship. Tell them that you appreciate why they feel that way, and that you know what they’re saying comes from a good, loving place. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with them, you can tell them that you appreciate that they're looking out for you. This will only strengthen your friendship,” he suggests.
Trust Your Own Instincts
Once you’ve had a chance to hear what your friends had to say, it's time to reflect on how you feel about the new information and what it means for your relationship going forward, says Dorell. “ Make a decision around what feels right for you after taking all the info in and reassessing how you feel,” she concludes.
Barrett says that, ultimately, you should be basing any decision about your relationship on how fulfilled you are by it. “Make a decision on whether or not to take a new action. Maybe you should reexamine your relationship, based on your friends’ feelings. Or, if you're feeling loved and fulfilled in your relationship, you may decide not to change a thing and keep moving forward with your significant other," he says.
Ultimately, the experts agree that when your friends have concerns about your partner, it's important to hear them out with an open heart and mind. However, the ultimate decision about what is right for you is yours to make on your own. So, trust your gut — you've got this.