If you believe that everyone has good friends, think again. Sadly, not everyone has a group of friends they rely on and socialize with on a regular basis. Sometimes a person may not have a close group of friends due to situational factors (they just moved or they travel a lot for work), but these individuals can have close friends or family members they talk to on the phone or communicate with regularly by text or email. As you look for a lasting romantic partner, it’s a good idea to take a moment and think about how important it is for a new partner to have solid friendships. Is this something you’ve thought about before? Why do you think the presence or absence of friends in your date’s life matters?
Someone who doesn’t have close friends typically won’t be able to have a smooth and lasting romantic relationship.
Think about your own friendships for a moment. If you’re like most people, you have relationships where the other person sometimes annoys you, or the two of you have the occasional argument. Later, of course, most friends make up and return to normal. One reason why you want a romantic partner to have close friends is because those friendships will have taught your date how to communicate better, compromise, and resolve conflicts. Do you really want to date someone who hasn’t had many relationships – friendships or otherwise – that taught them important lessons about how to get along with others? If you try to date someone who doesn’t have close friends, the person probably won’t have as much social experience as you, and your date may have a hard time communicating or expressing himself or herself.
Someone who doesn’t have close friends may depend on you too much or become codependent.
If you want to have a good, functional relationship, avoid someone who is overly dependent at all costs. The best way to start feeling trapped or suffocated emotionally is to date someone who will depend on you too much. No one person can meet all the social needs of another, which is why the ideal situation is to have a romantic partner and a few close friends. Relationships last longer and are happier when each person has found a balance between a sense of independence and a sense of closeness. In other words, you want to feel close to someone – but not too close. When people feel too close, they often feel trapped and then start acting out in ways that often cause the relationship to end.
Someone who doesn’t have close friends may not need people in their life the way you do.
Self-disclosure alert: I am probably like most people in that I don’t need a lot of people, but I do need some people. It is psychologically healthy to need and depend on some people. If you come across someone in the dating world who doesn’t seem to have close friends, you should ask yourself why this person has such a crucial hole in their life. Do they not have friends because they don’t like most people? Do they not have friends because they are selfish and don’t want to be weighed down by attachments? Do they not feel emotions like the rest of us do? (Note that some men and women may be fairly asocial, meaning that they are kind and functional people who prefer to stick to themselves.)
Someone who doesn’t have close friends may not blend well with your friends and family.
An obvious benefit of having friendships is that you learn how to get along with different types of people. If you start dating someone, your life will be a lot easier if that individual blends well with your existing friends and family. But someone who doesn’t have close friends is probably fairly set in their ways, and they may not get along easily with new people. Feel free to give that new person a chance, but take note about how they blend with your friends and family. Ultimately, if your date is comfortable, you will be comfortable; if your date isn’t comfortable, you won’t feel comfortable, either.
How to know for sure whether your date has close friends or not
It goes without saying that you wouldn’t ask this question point-blank: “Do you have any good friends?” The only way to find out if your date truly has friends is to get to know that person over time. After a few weeks of hanging out, ask to meet a good friend or two, and try to get a sense of how well your date and their “friends” know each other. After all, what one person may call a good friend is what another person may call an acquaintance. And the difference most definitely matters!
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.