With all of that said, I want to get into today's post. The title may be a bit intriguing, but let me explain what influenced it:
The first was watching 500 Days of Summer for the first time a few weeks ago (I know, I know, I'm about six years too late, but better late than never, right??). Anyways, what I thought was interesting about it was that, aside from the fact that it was done really well (e.g., good acting and directing, engaging plot, etc.), I appreciated that, as a romantic-dramatic-comedy, it took on more of a male perspective. It made me think: how many times have you missed a good opportunity because you didn't know you need to look? Because life isn't about the answers, it's about asking the right questions. Seriously though, moral of the story: we get so hung up over someone who is SO blatantly wrong for us, that we miss out on other opportunities (plus I loved the subtle, unintentional allusion to Inception in it as well).
|FYI: Autumn > Summer|
The second instance was a recent conversation I had with a good friend about potential dates. When I asked if she had met any potentials lately, she gave a disheartened yet sarcastic, "Haha, no." So, my follow-up response was to encourage her to be patient and I said, "never underestimate the power of meeting someone through a friend."
That's when it hit me. As you might recall, dating and courtship are hardly new topics on LOVEanon. I've blogged about online dating, how chances for meeting a potential partner is limited, and earlier this year, I did a three-part series on dating: part I addressed changing courtship norms, part II attempted to provide an answer for what a date is and what it consists of, and part III includes dating ideas as well as outlined the "rules" of dating.
|And no, social network support has nothing to do with writing an attention-seeking Facebook status.|
1. Friends are VERY important and helpful for helping you to find a mate. According to a SoR article citing Ackerman and Kenrick (2009), "Are friends helpful when meeting potential partners? Or do they compete with you for mates? It turns out that males receive help from friends (of both sexes, but especially male friends who are not single themselves) in attracting desirable mates, while women receive help from friends in avoiding undesirable mates."
|Wingmen/Wingwomen: That's your cue!|
3. Dr. Tim Loving communicates clearly that, "Individuals in romantic relationships are happier with their relationships when they think others like the romance and the partner. Our relationships also last longer when family and friends are supportive of our romantic lives."
|Moral of the story: no matter what you think of the TV series, friends are very important|
Before I conclude this post, I just want to remind you that I did look at the perceived influences of peer groups and parents on the conceptions of love of the individuals I surveyed in my thesis. Interestingly enough, while this SoR article reviewed a study that found that peer approval and opinion was more important than parental approval and opinion, this may only be applicable to Western or American individuals--but not for long.
Moreover, when asked to rank a number of items in terms of their importance in choosing a romantic partner, both males and females ranked parental approval over peer approval, but only slightly--perhaps indicating that, over time, peer groups will transform to being the most salient influence in their lives, or merely indicating it is important among college-age individuals in the Arab world, but not necessarily older or younger individuals.
|"Bas, then again, what Teta thinks is important too, mazboot??"|
Well, clearly if friends have such a potentially powerful impact on our romantic and interpersonal lives, then you need to ask yourself, "how can I incorporate them more?" Think about it: I've mentioned it many times in the past, one of the best ways to meet someone is to have a mutual, trusted friend introduce them to you. And while it does somewhat reflect more traditional aspects of Arab culture and society, I think that it is a custom/practice that can be modernized and adapted to fit into our own lives (that being that those around us help us find a romantic partner). If you trust OkCupid or another online dating service more than your friends, then fair enough. However, it might also be indicative that it's time to get new friends. They should be helping you meet new people and potentially even meeting a romantic partner. Of course, in the Arab world but other places as well, when I say friendship, I also include siblings, but especially cousins in that equation as well.
However, I also caution you: when I say think about matchmaking, remember the tools I have written about over the past two years:
--Do each of them love themselves?
Are you up for the challenge? Or do you think friends and family members like siblings and cousins shouldn't invade into your life? Let me know! Tell me in the comments! I just hope that this post can inspire, or at least motivate you to be more proactive in helping your friends meet someone nice for them!
Bryant, Chalandra M., and Rand D. Conger. 1999. "Marital Success and Domains of social Support in Long-Term Relationships: Does the Influence of Network Members Ever End?" Journal of Marriage and Family, 61(2): 437-450.
Felmlee, Diana H. 2001. "No Couple is an Island: A Social Network Perspective on Dyadic Stability." Social Forces, 79(4): 1259-1287.
Julien, Danielle, and Howard J. Markman. 1991. "Social Support and Social Networks as Determinants of Individual and Marital Outcomes." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 8(4): 549-568.
Parks, Malcolm Ross. 2007. Personal Relationships and Personal Networks. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Parks, Malcolm Ross, Charlotte M. Stan, and Leona L. Eggert. 1983. "Romantic Involvement and Social Network Involvement." Social Psychology Quarterly, 46(2): 116-131.
Sprecher, Susan. 2011. "The Influence of Social Networks on Romantic Relationships: Through the Lens of the Social Network." Personal Relationships, 18(4): 630-644.
Sprecher, Susan, and Diana H. Felmlee. 2000. "Romantic Partners' Perceptions of Social Network Attributes With the Passage of Time and Relationship Transitions." Personal Relationships, 7(4): 325–340.
----. 1992. "The Influence of Parents and Friends on the Quality and Stability of Romantic Relationships: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Investigation." Journal of Marriage and Family, 54(4): 888-900.