Why Your BFF’s Relationship With Your S.O. Is So Important
The Harry Potter love trifecta (that’s Harry, Ron and Hermione) enamors us because it is so much more than romance between Ron and Hermione. The relationships between the three legendary characters in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are based on a deep and loyal friendship. Ron and Hermione’s romantic love might be easy to see in the books, but their platonic love for Harry is what makes their trio so great. And while we might never reach this level of #squadgoals (especially because, let’s face it, we’re Muggles), we can all strive to strike the balance that Ron and Hermione have with their best friend, Harry.
Dr. Sara Trask, a communications professor at Randolph-Macon College, says that your SO’s relationship with your best friend and inner circle can be a really important one. “When your friends and family approve of your significant other, individuals report feeling more love and commitment and have greater relational satisfaction,” Trask said, citing a study by Dr. Karen Blair.
It makes sense: It’s a good sign if your best friend and your SO get along. However, there’s an interesting counterpart to this theory. If your inner circle disapproves of your boyfriend or girlfriend, it can negatively affect your relationship, as well as your mental and physical health. In order to combat this disapproval, Trask said that many couples use “’influencing behavior,’ which is where individuals try to seek their social network’s approval by talking up their partner or discussing how wonderful their dates are.”
While there aren’t studies on the effectiveness of this behavior, Trask recommends listening to and validating your best friend’s opinion — doing so reminds them that they’re still an important influence in your life, despite your relationship status. Just who is in your inner circle is important too. According to Trask, studies show that friends’ opinions are much more likely to influence how much you like and are willing to date a potential partner, rather than parents’ opinions. This is especially prominent for individuals who don’t rely on their parents or family as financial or emotional resources.
While the importance of your Harry in your Ron/Hermione relationship is obvious, there are also exceptions to the rule that your best friend and SO have to get along. One exception is called the Romeo and Juliet effect, which suggests that individuals disregard their family and friends’ opinions and that, ultimately, love conquers all.
This effect happens under certain conditions. If only a few members of your inner circle disapprove (or if you believe you can change dissenting opinions), you might find yourself in a Montague and Capulet-esque situation. While some couples can find happiness despite the disapproval of their best friends, Trask says that working to create a friendship between your inner circle and your SO is still a proven method to ensure your relationship and friendships stay intact.
“It can be inferred that though there are a few instances in which others’ approval may not be the be-all end-all of a relationship, ultimately, relationships fair a lot better when family and friends approve and support them,” Trask said.
Have any experience with best friends and significant others? Let us know how you handled it by tweeting us @BritandCo!
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