Why You Should Be Wary of Soliciting Dating Advice from Friends

By Kristin Manganello, Copy Cutie

Lucien finally decided to take the plunge into the world of online dating and asked his friend Sarah to help him come up with an eye-catching profile. After two grueling hours of throwing ideas back and forth, the profile remained largely unwritten. “At least you got your username down,” Sarah said encouragingly, to which Lucien responded with a dejected shrug. She took a seat at the computer and started typing away. “There,” she said, “tell me how that sounds.” In the 'What I’m Looking For' section was the word, “BOOBIES” in all-capped letters. Although it made him laugh, Lucien realized that maybe Sarah wasn’t the right person to ask …

Whether you're launching your first profile like Lucien or are regularly traversing through the cyberspace of courtship, chances are you’ve sought words of wisdom from friends. You figure that since your pals know you well and care about your happiness, their two cents are worth a million bucks. While besties make great support systems, think twice before asking them for digital romance advice. They're not experts — on online dating or you. Much as their tips are well intentioned, your friends might ... 

… care too much to be completely honest with you. Say you inject a lot of your notorious off-color humor into your profile, figuring that the right match will come along and just “get it.” Maybe you’re as hilarious as George Carlin in real life, but via written word you come off as an unfunny curmudgeon. A too-nice BFF won’t have the nerve to tell you what’s working and what isn’t.

… tell you to “Just be yourself.” This advice is always appreciated when it comes from grandma but it can be frustrating when you're looking for something more constructive. It can also be confusing if you’re not sure which foot you should step with first. Your buddies say this because they already like you and think that everyone else will easily see what they see. It’s sweet, but not very helpful.

… have completely different values from you. Your friends will give you suggestions based on what they would do. But what’s good for them won’t always be what’s right for you. Only you know what you really want. Furthermore, you shouldn’t let their voices be the ones that represent you. Think of yourself as the rock star of your online dating profile and your friends as the backup dancers — they may help make you look good, but it's your show.

When you do seek advice from your friends, ask them about specific things rather than the bigger, complex picture. For the larger dilemmas, do some research. There are many blogs (like ours!) that offer objective answers for any questions you might have. Let your homies help lighten the load, but leave the advice to the experts.

What’s the best (or worst) online dating advice that a friend has given you? Tell us about it in a comment below!