When You Are Blindly in Love, Friends Can Show You the Way
Pay attention to the yellow flags
What do you do when you approach a traffic signal as the light changes to yellow? You have two choices. Hit the brakes or slam the accelerator to the floor to cross the signal just before the light turns red.
Red and green are clear — Stop and go.
Yellow, on the other hand, is a choice — slow down or speed up.
I like to think of yellow as a grey area. It's murky and unclear for the most part. Unlike red and green with clear-cut meanings, the meaning of yellow depends on you.
If you were anything like my younger self, you probably don’t know what yellow flags mean. Heck, I didn’t know what red and green were either. Without knowing the clear signs of a healthy or toxic relationship, how in the world could I figure out the middle area?
A yellow flag is a signal to slow down and proceed with caution, just like a yellow light. It is not a deal-breaker, but it has the potential to be one.
Looking back on my past relationship, there was one glaring yellow flag I conveniently ignored as I was head over heels in love.
Yes, friends can give you so much information if you are willing to listen.
If they have no close friends
Maybe it’s okay if they are an introverted person. Maybe it’s super weird.
A person’s friend circle says a lot about who they are and how well they can form and maintain meaningful connections.
Often, early in a relationship, you are so smitten with this human who seems wonderful that you notice nothing else. Like a horse with its blinders on. I know, because I was that horse.
My ex-boyfriend had friends. But none of them was close friends. He was a pothead — something I disagreed with, yet ignored, thinking it was just a phase. The people he called friends were, well, other stoners.
His idea of hanging out with friends involved rolling a joint or partying.
This didn’t matter in the beginning. Since it was a long-distance relationship, our monthly meet-ups were reserved for spending time with each other.
When I asked him who his best friend was, he said it was me — which was great. But who else? No one. The people he hung out with were purely for fun. None of them would show up if he needed them. And he wouldn’t have their backs either.
Who do they talk to the most?
Who is their secret-keeper?
Who do they call when they need help?
Who are the people they hold close to their hearts?
What does their support system look like?
The people they surround themselves with provide considerable insights into who they are. If they make you the centre of their universe, pause. It may feel extraordinary and out of this world, but dealing with the pressure of being everything to your partner will, in the long run, wear you down.
Healthy, meaningful connections outside of your relationship are essential for both partners. And if one of them does not have any, it is a cause for concern.
You should be your partner’s best friend for sure, but not the only one.
Your friends can give you clarity
When my childhood friend met my boyfriend, six months into our relationship, she told me she didn’t like him. She thought he was too dominating for someone like me.
With my blinders on, I ignored her opinion. My boyfriend didn’t like her either, and within months they had heated arguments and ended up blocking each other. Caught in the middle between my best friend and boyfriend, I tried my best to maintain both relationships. And, failed.
Over the next two years, our friendship slowly drifted apart.
Years later, I told her I had caught him cheating. She wasn’t surprised. “I’m sorry, but I did try to warn you. He wasn’t right for you.”
Yes, she had tried. And I had blatantly ignored it.
When I met another friend who had introduced me to my ex, many years later, he told me he had thought we shouldn’t have dated.
“I knew him well. You are too nice, and he is not. I’m surprised it lasted that long.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier!?” I asked him.
“You wouldn’t have listened! And I thought maybe you both were really serious.”
He was right, too. Head over heels in love, I wouldn’t have listened no matter what he said at the time.
Often, if you are having difficulty with something, shifting your focus may help you come up with solutions. Other times, asking someone else for their perspective can bring out problems you had overlooked.
Your close friends and family do not have blinders on. They are also not as emotionally invested as you are in the relationship. If your inner circle is a few who you are sure to have your best interests at heart, listening to their opinion about your significant other with an open mind can be useful.
There is a reason why we say mothers can spot a fake friend from a mile away.
If I could go back in time and knock some sense into my younger self, I would tell her to look at his friends and not just him. Also, smoking up barely classified as a hobby. And, for god’s sake, listen to your friends!
Many years later, I am now with someone who has a tight inner circle of friends and cousins. Some of them are now my good friends too.
Paying close attention to a person’s intimate relationships can provide insights into their true self. The company they keep and the people they surround themselves with can be relevant signals.
Navigating yellow flags can be difficult because they are not deal-breakers. Depending on your situation, whether or not you stay is up to you. The internet provides you a lot more. This is one of them.
One that I didn’t think was important.
Knowing all the flags will not get you anywhere unless you put your feelings aside for a minute and pay attention to them. Knock off those blinders.
The signal is turning yellow. What are you going to do?