#onlinedating | Erika Ettin column: Limit friends’ advice in dating life | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

It’s 10 p.m. on a Thursday, and you’re wrapping up a first date, complete with a warm hug goodbye and plans to get together for dinner early next week. As you climb into your Uber and give a final wave, you try to contain your smile. Your immediate next move? Pull out your phone to text your best friend: “I just had the best first date with this guy!”

It’s a natural reaction: You want to share your joy with loved ones — and it’s no fun to handle that initial excitement alone!

But then you receive a reply: “Send me his profile!” You copy and paste the link, only for your pal to come back with, “Oh, I wouldn’t think he’s your type.” Clearly your friend has sussed out something you haven’t — maybe he’s not as attractive as you thought, or he’s just plain boring. Your giddiness has vanished, and now you’re rethinking that second date.

Sometimes it’s tough to know where to draw the line when it comes to how involved in your love life that your friends should be. At the end of the day, however, your relationship includes two people: you and your partner. A friend being unimpressed by your date’s profile shouldn’t stop you from seeing that person again. After all, your buddy isn’t the one who had a great time face-to-face … and not the one who goes on date number 2.

There are plenty of healthy ways to include your friends in your dating adventures: chatting about dates — the good, the bad, and the ugly — over brunch or discussing first date outfit choices via FaceTime. According to a study by eHarmony, 22% of online daters have asked a friend to help write their profile. (Women are more likely to go to a close confidante in this matter at 30%, while only 16% of men seek help from a friend in writing their bio). This is a great way for them to be involved! It’s hard to talk about yourself, and a friend — especially one who is great with words — can help you paint a beautiful picture for potential matches to read. Or, of course, hire a dating coach. Ahem.

Friends are there to look out for you, but at the end of the day, who you’re dating is your decision. I overheard a woman advise a pal that a guy wasn’t “on your level” when it came to his job and looks. However, that’s not for a friend to decide. Unless they raise legitimate concerns — for example, they knew the date and that he was actually married with children, despite his profile saying he is single — you have to rely on your head and heart.

If a friend is meddling too deep into your love life, it’s time for a conversation. Simply saying, “I like him, and I’m going to see where it goes,” should make it clear that you’re interested — and a friend should respect that. Should the doubts continue, perhaps you should keep your conversations to topics other than your dating interests.

While most of the time friends have good intentions, there may also be a small part of them that’s jealous. After all, if you start a new relationship, you have a brand new person to share all your thoughts and adventures with. It’s a change in the dynamic, but it shouldn’t mean the end of either your friendship or your romantic relationship.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.

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