How To Spot A Bad Wingman

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Dr Pam Spurr tells us which signs to look out for if your friend is hindering your chances of meeting someone great.

You and your friend are both single and super-psyched to check out that new place for other singles. But inside you find you're also a bit anxious going out with them because they always makes a beeline for the interesting girls/guys, elbowing you out.

This is something I come across all too frequently when talking to singles about sometimes surprising issues that get in the way of their dating.

Going out with a single friend should be a level playing field. The research for my dating guide confirmed that you should look out for each other and boost each other's self-belief and dating confidence. 

But that doesn’t always happen. 

If you’re doubting your friend and think they might be a blocking your chances of finding love, check out these key signs:

  • It’s all about them when you’re out - like where they want to go because they love dressing up for smart places even if you prefer a chilled vibe.
  • They elbow you out of their way to gain dominance over the person you’re chatting to - by making sure they're the sole person carrying the conversation.
  • They put you down in front of the girl/guys - sometimes turning you into the butt of their jokes.
  • They’ll flirt with the person you like and try taking it further just to prove they can do it.
  • Or they'll flirt with a person they're not even interested in, because they've seen you’ve taken an interest in them.
  • They make sure they're always the centre of attention in one way or another.

  • They’ll criticise your look, outfit and/or hair, etc., especially when you least need criticism - and when you’re both heading out.
  • Once they've successfully met someone, they’ll go off with their conquest leaving you on your own.

Here's how to handle a bad wingman and build a better friendship:

  • If you have a ‘friend’ who behaves this way proceed with caution. It’s like with a badly behaved ex, do you really need them in your life? But if otherwise they have some redeeming good qualities, stick with it. Just be cautious, their behaviour can be bad for your self-esteem. 
  • Until you feel you’ve got the situation under control, don’t confide in them about who you're dating.
  • Start asserting yourself with the practical things first, like having a say in the venues you go to. Be straightforward, flag up where you went last time (their choice) and suggest where you want to go this time.
  • Practice makes perfect – so practice your most confident vibe before you to hit the town. Stick on your going-out gear, practice good, confident body language, and take a ‘fake it to make it’ type attitude.
  • When out with them, don’t point out the person you’re most attracted to. Instead use a distraction strategy and point out other people. When you have a moment, pass them on the way to the bar and flash a nice smile. Here’s hoping you two strike up a conversation without your friend muscling in.
  • As your confidence builds, plan a convo with how you are going to speak to your friend about the situation. Prepare what you’ll say and start with a positive like, “We have such a great time when we’re hanging out together but I feel it changes when we’re around girls/guys I like.”
  • Listen to what they have to say and you might be surprised – it might reveal insecurities about them and always having to prove themselves. Out in the open these can be dealt with.
  • Finally, if they don't change their ways, it’s time to find another wingman.

Dr Pam’s podcast Wham Bam It’s Dr Pam is available here:

​Find her on Twitter @drpamspurr and at ​

Sign up now with your wingman by downloading the Wingman® app in the App store and Google Play store. Available in the US and UK for IOS and Android devices.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash

Photo by Raghu Nayyar on Unsplash