I had spent weeks gushing over the latest run-ins with my crush with a close friend of mine. “Guess who I just saw” I’d text, which would usually lead to a breakdown of what he said, what he was wearing, and of course how awesome I thought he was, etc. You know how it goes. So needless to say I couldn’t help but be excited to get my girlfriend’s feedback after we happened to run into him one day. After brief introductions and small talk we went on our way. Out of earshot, I anxiously wanted to hear her reaction.

“So, how old is he again? He looks older.”

Her response wasn’t quite what I expected or hoped for. In short, an indirect, sarcastic comment about his age was all I got. I was let down. It was only a short interaction of course, but still it I just assumed she would somehow see the same spark I did, and have reason to further indulge in my ravings. But, it wasn’t the case and I asked myself why I was slightly bothered by this.

While I’ve always appreciated those friends in my life who keep it real with me no matter what, and I strive to heed good advice, I’ve also always thought of myself as young women with her own mind. Someone who moves to her own drumbeat more often than not. Yet this situation made me wonder: Could it be that l actually had a weak spot for outside approval? And if left unchecked could it be a negative thing?

Just how important are the opinions of others when it comes to relationships? Personally, I hold my family and friends in high regard and I truly value and consider their thoughts. However, when it comes down to it, would I be willing to dismiss someone only because they didn’t meet their approval?

There are a few things I consider a must for a relationship to work, and a mutually reciprocated respect for family and friends is high on that list. It’s very important for a man to get along with those who have shaped who I am today. My hope is that he would fit right in and the icing on top would be that they like him as much as I do. Yet I also realize that the one for me may not be everyone’s cup of tea in terms of looks and/or status. In their mind, the ideal partner for me may be totally different from who I actually feel compatible with.

While we may be quick to say we don’t care what others think, consider how often we give our friends the run down of everything from his appearance, his first text, our first date, the proposals, his credit scores–you name it. Why do we do all of this? Of course, it’s great to have friends to share our experiences with, but is there also a part of us that is seeking confirmation? We want our friends and/or family to give us the green light that we’re making the right decision, and that we’re not alone in thinking he is as great as our intuition may be telling us.

And it not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion. However, I believe this becomes a problem when we base our decisions solely on the opinions of others; keeping in mind that everyone speaks from their own experiences and can sometimes project their perspectives onto your situation. Everyone’s perception is filtered their individual lens of what it means to be “good enough.” So although their intentions may be good, their lens may also be a little foggy. This is why discernment is key. We have to be introspective and question ourselves on what we really want out of a partner and develop our own standards when it comes to relationships and choosing the right person.

As these thoughts paraded through my mind, I concluded that I was proud of myself because I didn’t let my friend’s comments make me second guess the qualities I find attractive in this person. Who knows whether he is the one or not, but despite what package a person comes in, you never know who you’re dealing with until you actually attempt get to know that person. And so I promised never to allow someone else’s limited opinion cloud my own judgement and miss out on the opportunity to find out.

How important is your family’s or friends’ opinion when it comes to relationships? Do you allow other people’s opinion to heavily influence who you like?

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