Have you ever broken up with a woman only to hear from friends, after the fact, that they really didn’t like her?
“Why didn’t you tell me?”, you’ll ask, without realizing you’d do the same if your roles were reversed.
Friends are not going to share concerns about a girlfriend you clearly like.
But it’s different if you’re not sure or if you’re questioning her motives or interest in you. In those instances, friends will tell you.
But you have to ask while the relationship is still going on, not after it ends.
Friends can provide the unvarnished feedback we need about a relationship, particularly one we’re on the fence about.
There is a principle, highlighted in Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book, Talking to Strangers, that sheds more light on this phenomenon. Gladwell proves we’re not the most reliable evaluators of our own relationships.
The principle is called the “Truth Default Theory”, which is the assumption humans make that the people they are dealing with are being honest.
Let’s face it, when it comes to relationships, particularly new ones, both people hide things.
But a friend can cut through that.
They have more distance and objectivity.
Without a friend’s input, we default to truth. We fall into on our natural tendency to believe the other person and assume their actions (continuing to date us) represent their true feelings toward us (some kind of connection or love).
But that’s often not the case.
That’s where your friend comes in. He can give you a more accurate read on the relationship, point out red flags and help override your default to truth.
The key here is that the friend should be someone whose opinion you value and will be straight with you.
A friend can save you from spending unnecessary time in a bad relationship.