5 Ways Your Best Friends Set the Standards for Your Lover

 Let’s be honest: There is no such thing as ‘Just Friends’,  in fact, the people who you choose to be your confidants and spend your time with  are very important people.

They are the ones who you trust, who you share your victories and failures with and they are the ones who you fully expect to have your back at all times and its all mutual.

There is an inner scale of friendship, that we all adhere to whether we admit to it or not and it runs from acquaintances, friends, good friends, close friends, to best friends, which we use to establish the level of connectivity, and vulnerability we display around each respective friend label.

(Am I wrong? Didn’t think so)

You know how awesome your friends are, the decisions you both make to ensure your relationships grow  happily, and the level of deep trust that you are consistently nurturing  ( especially your BFF’s)  so is it any surprise that these people who you have chosen to be in your inner sanctum highlight the standards  to which you must hold your romantic partner?

Nope, that makes sense!

Afterall the people you have bestowed the honour of ‘good friends’ and ‘best friends’ are relationships that are near and dear to your heart always… so why wouldn’t the person you are having sex with and linking lives not have similar qualities and show signs of care?

There is absolutely no reason.

The following are the five ways in which your BFF’s are setting the standards for the kind of behaviours and beliefs your partner should embody!

Your close friends and best friends will support you through thick and thin, they do not put you down, nor do they criticize your efforts.

Your best friends love you for the good, bad and the ugly and this comes from both of you putting in mutual effort into your friendships.

This level of support is a product of making a decision to learn who each other are honestly, comes from lots of communication on silly and important things, it comes with building up trust and ‘vibing’ together.

Your BFF is the first to call you back from the brink of destruction, and be your biggest, loudest and fiercest cheerleader when it comes to you following your dreams and building the healthiest lifestyle for yourself. 

 He/she is also the person who knows your quirks, crazy habits and still loves you unconditionally. They are the people you can feel the love from and they fit easily into your life!

When it comes to expecting this kind of understanding from your partner, Kim Panganiban, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist, notes, “You want a partner who is interested in you, admires you, and supports you emotionally. Your partner should also honor your dreams and work toward creating a sense of shared meaning with you”.

Your friends are important in times of crisis, whether it be personal, financial or work related. 

Real quick, how many times have you been having an awful day and the only person able to make you smile was your BFF?

Or he/she was the person who when you called, helped you through the crisis to the best of their ability? Your BFF is reliable, creative and tries for you.

The truth is your BFF will never leave you curled up on the couch in pain and suffering, unless it is to go buy you medicine.

Author of “Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder” Arlin Cuncic, MA,  notes, “Friends are especially important during times of crisis and turbulence. If you find yourself going through a hard time, having a friend to help you through can make the transition easier”.

So when you think about it and you know that your friend would go to the end of the Earth to ensure you are taken care of and safe, then why would you accept anything less from your significant others?

“This person is supposed to be your better half, the one who you choose to spend your whole life with, and the one who you’re ready to be there for, through sickness and in health,” says Jan Magallon on Vocal.

Your partner just like your best friend will also have to be one of the people who you feel safe enough to call in a time of crisis and know that they have your back, and keep you safe.

Your best friends can be very positive influences in your life, and help you to boost your self esteem and your health. 

 Having at least one person you know you can rely on, will help build your confidence more.

Having a person, who genuinely wants you to be healthy, happy and make positive decisions, is a boost to your own health and lifestyle, because as we are highly social animals, that deep, genuine affectionate relationship will help you to be very healthy and live a much more positive life.

 “If you make friends with people who are generous with their time, help others, ambitious, or family-oriented, you are more likely to develop those values yourself.Having positive relationships with these types of people will also improve your social functioning in general,” Arlin Cuncic, MA, notes.

“[…] if you have at least one friend, you will be more likely to get out and start doing things. That friend may also suggest activities that you would not have considered on your own—thus, pushing you outside your comfort zone to challenge your anxiety,” she continues.

When it comes to romantic partners, the case is very much the same.

 You and your partner should have each other’s best interests at heart and demonstrate your love for each other frequently and naturally, so the bond continues to be reinforced.

Your close friends and especially your best friend all know and love your level of goofiness.

They are the ones who will have been exposed the most to your quirks, the things you absolutely nerd out over, know well your sense of humour and the reason they know these possibly embarrassing things about your personality is because they have earned your trust and you feel safe enough to let all of your true self be on full display.

There is no need to impress or hide who you are from your friends, because they whether consciously or subconsciously accept you as you are.

When it comes to your partner, we tend to try to hide many aspects of ourselves, thinking some of them may be too extreme or unattractive for him/her to discover.

However, if this person is really your person, the person who you want to share your life and love with, then wouldn’t it make sense for them to also love your goofiness and the aspects of you that are the foundation for who you essentially are?

Be yourself always and those who are supposed to be in your life will be.

Let us talk about sex.

Your BFF is a person you can change clothes with in the same room if you felt comfortable enough or if you don’t, will not be offended if you ask them to give you space to change.

This is a trait that is still very, very important in a romantic partner, regardless of if you are having sex with them or not.

 The real concept I’m getting at here is consent and the respect for your personal boundaries.

Just as your BFF will not hesitate to respect your boundaries of comfort, personal space and preference, so too must your romantic partner.

Romantic relationships are not built on sex; instead they are actually built on the nurturing of similar value systems.  

In spending time with friends, your bond grows through great conversation, heartfelt caring, support and having real fun with each other.

They are the ones who are smiling at your good fortune, and when we fall on hard times, they are the ones to put things in better perspective and offer genuine help. 

Money, jealousy, and apathy are not things you fight with your best friend about, because you don’t have to question their motives, the same needs to be in place for the person who is supposed to be on a tier just above your BFF, your life partner.

The rule of thumb that I hope this article expresses is that if it’s not ok for a friend to do certain things, then it is definitely not ok for your romantic partner to do so either.

By the same token, if your friends are more supportive, more open to honest communication and seem to care about you and your interests more, then you need to seriously re-examine the relationship you are in right now and see if this person is really someone you want in your life.

“So next time your friends tell you that you can do better, ask what they mean exactly and evaluate for yourself if their concern is an area of high expectation (how you are being treated) or low expectation (differences that can create conflict) before deciding whether or not to end the relationship,”  says, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist.

Your friends want you to be genuinely happy and so must you and your partner. Relationships are here to help us thrive, not wilt.



Why Did I Like You?

Maybe you’re at a café, or talking a walk in the park, enjoying the sun or maybe you’re aimlessly scrolling through your favorite social media accounts, and then wham! It happens; your ex appears out of nowhere.

Like a fat, grey cloud about to unleash rain on your sunshiny day, he/ she pops up in your field of vision ominous and carefree. And whether you have an interaction or not, as you take in his/ her features, you honestly begin to wonder, ‘Why did I like you?’

This is a question that on its own may seem petty or even angry, but it’s a very good question. What was it about your exes that appealed to you?

Now we all know that we have a checklist of qualities and attributes that we are looking for in our partners, yet most still site incompatible personalities and morals as the major reasons the relationships dissolve.

What is even more interesting is the realization that most of us have a ‘ dating type’ and according to a study conducted at the University of Toronto, people  despite their best  intentions  to date outside of that type, some can’t help but to gravitate to similar partners.  

Lead author Yoobin Park, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts & Science at U of T says, “It’s common that when a relationship ends, people attribute the breakup to their ex-partner’s personality and decide they need to date a different type of person.  “Our research suggests there’s a strong tendency to nevertheless continue to date a similar personality”.

Co-author Geoff MacDonald, a professor in the Department of Psychology at U of T, concurs, noting “The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a ‘type’. And though our data do not make clear why people’s partners exhibit similar personalities, it is noteworthy that we found partner similarity above and beyond similarity to oneself.”

So then why do you have this dating type?

 James Green, a certified love coach and author tells Bustle that life is all about patterns, including what we eat, the way we dress and even the side of the bed we sleep on and dating is no exception.

“When you begin your ‘dating career’ it’s a lot like a record that has yet to be recorded. Still smooth. As you begin to have romantic relationships, ridges begin to form. Depending on the length of time you spend in these relationships and the impact (positive or negative) they have on you, that will determine how deep these ridges become,” says Green.

It may seem quite crazy to think that after a series of bad relationships that you wouldn’t start trying to stay away from those who are ‘wrong for you’ and in truth, consciously that is exactly what you begin to do, the problem however is that “subconsciously, an imprint has been left by them that we may not be fully aware of,” Green says.  And that is one of the reasons you will find yourself subconsciously being attracted to people who are similar.

So how do we stop this pattern of unhappiness?

There are a few psychology based theories that may help you to move from your past dating type and move to a new, more compatible one.

Unsurprisingly, it all starts with inner work, self awareness and empathetic healing.  Humans choose things that feel comfortable and normal, regardless of if it’s toxic or unfulfilling and this is especially the case when you are seeking healthy relationships, but unhealthy ones are all you know.

While it may seem easy in theory to accept the person who is willing to enter into a healthy relationship with you, the actual truth is that the reality of it is scary, and leads to fear and insecurities raising their heads which leads to self sabotage and reverting to situation that feel more familiar.

To avoid a return trip to the relationship bad lands licensed professional clinical counselor who specializes in trauma-focused therapy, ” Maryann W. Mathai, suggests, “Ask yourself whether this feels familiar or uncomfortable,” she says. “Explore who else in your life makes you feel this way and whether you get your needs met in those relationships.” If not, it’s best to leave that situation alone”.

As you have guessed, the key to unlocking your new relationship ‘dating type’ is to move through your past to the real root of why you look for what you do in your romantic and even platonic relationships.

The past leaves imprints on our body and mind and in order to fully live freely and happily, it is important to learn how to process and learn from these experiences.

“Romantic relationships can serve as surrogate relationships for ones that didn’t turn out so well earlier in our lives,” Erika Martinez, Psy.D., clinical psychologist who specializes in helping people get unstuck in love, work, and life, tells Bustle.

Usually something about the type of people you date reminds you in some way of someone you’ve had a difficult relationship with in your past, including parents, siblings, deep yet turbulent friendships to name a few and since the brain is always looking for ways to resolve drama, you could find yourself in these relationships, as a way for you to subconsciously resolve the past drama with that person in your new relationship.

“By being in a relationship with someone similar, you’re making an effort to psychologically heal the wounds of that past relationship,” Martinez says. “The issue is you’re likely to get hurt again, which only re-wounds you.”

Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, licensed psychologist who specializes in individual and couples therapy, adds, “We recreate the past in current relationships by ‘picking, provoking, or projecting.’ That is, we might pick someone similar to our ex or early caregiver, provoke them to act in ways similar, or project.”

This is where introspection comes in and saves the day, especially since you cannot change the past but you can heal it by taking the time to become aware of your patterns and making the conscious decision to resolve those wounds, thus allowing yourself to set new, healthier dating patterns, from a much healthier and safer mental state.