This Study Proves It's Our Friends Who Decide Whether Our Relationship Will Last
Remember the Spice Girls' dating philosophy in "Wannabe"?
Well, as it turns out, they were on point: According to a recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, the opinions of friends and family play an integral role in the overall success of a relationship.
The surprising twist? Your friends' opinion about your relationship matters more than that of your colleagues, or even your family.
The study: Researchers conducted a survey of 480 participants, all of whom are either in interracial or same-sex relationships (or both), to determine if "stigma" from their friends and family had any effect on the quality of their relationships. Relationship quality was measured by "investment, satisfaction, intimate partner aggression victimization and perpetration, commitment, intimacy, trust, passion, love, sexual communication and sexual satisfaction."
Unsurprisingly, the researchers concluded that yes, the judgments made by friends and family (as well as society) do matter when it comes to choosing a partner. But most of all, "relationship stigma from friends in particular was associated with lower relationship commitment, trust, love, and sexual communication, as well as greater odds of intimate partner aggression victimization."
In other words: When it comes to our friends' opinions of our relationships, we give a fuck.
The friendship influence: If you've ever dated someone your friends absolutely hate (or seen any of the Janice/Chandler episodes of Friends, for that matter), the study's results probably aren't that surprising. Plenty of research done elsewhere has already proven we care what our friends think.
A 2013 study in Psychological Science reported that we turn to our friends to offer us self-controlling opinions when we're feeling weak-willed. Another study in 2013 found that we let our friends opinions influence our financial decisions, while a 2014 study even proved that they can even have an impact on our candy-eating choices. And thanks to this new study, we now know that such effects carry over into our love lives.
But when it comes down to it, what does all this psychological science really mean for our IRL relationships? Well, basically, what we learned way back in the '90s: If someone wants to be your lover, they've got to get with your friends.
Looks like Baby, Scary, Posh, Sporty and Ginger were right all along.