Do you know who to turn to when you have a burning dating question? You can always talk to me, as you know. But if I’m not around, who’s the next best person?
DON’T ask: your eternally single friend
You know the one I mean – she’s been online-dating since they invented it, has decorated her house with doomed-wedding gifts, and is always in the middle of a passionate relationship. You love her confidence and she’s always there for you, but… Does she actually know what she’s talking about?
Over time, experience turns to cynicism and Ms Been There, Had Him, might eventually ruin your hopes with her damning remarks. She’ll size up every new fella with one world-weary glance and take you aside to say she doesn’t trust him. Or if she does trust him, that he’s just vaguely “not good enough for you”. Funny how nobody ever is. It’s almost as if she doesn’t want you to find love before she does.
DO ask: your boringly married friend
The one who married her Uni boyfriend and quickly vanished into domestic silence. Her. SHE’S the one who truly knows potential when she sees it, and will know that real love sometimes takes a bit of compromise. She has also had enough experience of men to know if you’ve accidentally picked a bad ‘un. (And she knows all the single dads on the school gate.) PLUS your dating exploits will make her laugh.
DON’T ask: your Mum
She loves you, wants the best for you, and can’t wait to be a grandmother. See the problem? With her biological clock drowning out your own, your Mum might push you into the arms of any man within a 300-mile radius who might be willing to put up with “your nonsense”. Mums are wonderful (I know, I’m a mum) but our judgements get cloudy. We veer between thinking you’re so wonderful that nobody’s good enough for you, and that you’re too picky.
DO ask: your Dad
Nobody can spot a Player like your Dad. You might not welcome his bluntness, but if you’ve ever got doubts about a boyfriend’s character, Dad will be right behind you, loading his gun. But Dads aren’t only good for seeing the bad in people – when you’re being an overly-emotional diva, or inventing monsters under your (emotional) bed, your father will spot it a mile away. He’s been doing it since you were two.
DON’T YOU DARE ask: your ex
People don’t change, but they change within relationships. So an ex – even a friendly one – will never know who you are in your current affair. They’ll only remember who you were when you were dating them. This means they’re advice is skewed. Plus, be honest – who really likes to see their ex’s love-life flourishing? Really? If they’ve got any kinds of feelings left for you – even just ego – they won’t be detached enough to tell you what you really need to hear.
DO ask: your colleagues
Work colleagues know you far better than you imagine. They see you when you excel, and when you’re trying to hide your tears behind your console. They see you first thing in the morning, and know what excuse you favour when you’re hungover. Their experience of you combined with their slight detachment makes them the perfect advice-givers. (Next to me, naturally.) Try it, and let me know if I’m right in the Comments.