We Asked Readers The People They Need To See Their Date Interact With Before Committing

There are a lot of red flags to look out for when getting into a relationship. Are your values aligned? What about your future goals? Do you like their friends, and vice-versa? And, most importantly, do they treat you well? An oft-overlooked, but oh-so-important consideration is how your partner treats people who are not you. The way someone treats their peers, co-workers, friends, family, and even strangers speaks volumes about how they view themselves, and how they will treat future partners.


We spend our days interacting with other people. How do you know what interactions provide meaningful insight and which do not? To help answer that gnawing question, Women.com spoke exclusively to five women to get some insight into the kind of interactions they want to see their partners have before making any big commitments. Some were no-brainers (ahem their mothers) others were a little more surprising (but not without merit), such as people they conflict with.

All in all, the point of watching your lover interact with the world is to gauge how they will interact with you, through good times and bad. Below we break down everything women want to see, and why, before jumping headfirst into a relationship.


Their family

There's an old saying that the way a man treats his mom is how he will treat his future partner. Regardless of sexual orientation, watching a potential partner interact with their loved ones can be paramount in understanding what issues you may encounter later in a relationship. "One person I'd not even consider embarking on a relationship with is someone who mistreats their mother," Isabel said when speaking to Women.com. "In psychoanalysis, the relationship between an individual and their mother holds immense influence, shaping their perceptions and behaviors in future romantic partnerships. Observing how a potential partner interacts with their mother provides crucial insights into their dynamics, values, and emotional patterns."


What's more, watching someone interact with their mother or family, in general, can give you a much-needed insight into how they handle conflict. Do they tend to yell? Are they passive-aggressive? If that's how they behave when they hit a hard patch with mom or dad, those patterns will likely arise in your relationship too. 

"A partner's relationship with their family says a lot about their character and where certain habits and beliefs stem from," Alexandrea insisted. " If those close familial connections are dysfunctional, understanding why and how that person is coping with or contributing to the dysfunction can be telling of the possible issues that may manifest in your relationship."

Their friends

Similar to parental figures, the way someone treats their friends can provide valuable insight into their character. "Observing their dynamic [with their friends] offers insights into their communication style, mutual respect, and loyalty," Isabel explained to Women.com. To Isabel, watching someone hang out with their closest buddies helps her understand how they display empathy, and how they handle conflict, two crucial insights into a future relationship.


Take note of the energy they bring to the table when they're around their friends. Are they gossipy? Do they turn into a party animal? However they act with the people they feel the most comfortable with is them at their truest self. Once the honeymoon phase wears off, and they are no longer on their best behavior, this is how they'll likely act around you.

On a basic level, spending time with your partner and their friends is about more than just watching how they behave — it's about making sure you vibe too. "If your new partner's friends don't like you, this can be a major issue in your relationship," Anna Morgenstern, a dating and relationship coach, explained to Bustle. "For instance, the opinions of your partner's friends could weigh heavily on them and could potentially turn them against you."



If you think you might want kids, observing your potential co-parent with kids is a no-brainer. However, even women who don't have or don't want kids may find that watching these interactions take place can quickly eliminate potential partners from their rosters. The way someone treats kids, especially if they aren't around them very often, can provide valuable insight into how they handle uncomfortable or annoying situations. "A talkative five-year-old," Megan said of who she'd like to see their partner interact with most when speaking to Women.com. "I'd like to see how a man responds to all the questions and if they can match the energy of a kid."


Even if they can't necessarily match the energy of a five-year-old, the way they treat kids is indicative of the way they relate to the world. Do they take themselves too seriously? Can they cut loose and be playful when necessary? Are they able to connect with someone who has a totally different perspective? "While I don't want any children myself (I'm 44), seeing a man interact with children gives clues as to his patience, his kindness, and compassion," said Gloria. Extra points if they can guide a kid through a hard situation or teach them something new. "Especially a child who needs help with something like tying a shoe," she added.

People they conflict with

Your partner is going to love you, but they may not always like you, so watching them interact with people they don't like (or love) is a great way to get some insight into the way they'll handle future conflict. "More often than not, this shows you what to expect should things go sideways between the two of you," Alexandrea explained of the importance of seeing your partner handle conflict with others when speaking to Women.com. "It is a dangerous thing to look past problematic behavior when someone is upset just because it isn't, in that moment, directed toward you."


Your partner may be pretty easygoing and isn't one to fly off the handle. If that's the case try to catch them in difficult situations, like dealing with stress at work. "Seeing a person in their work element is another clue to the entire picture," Gloria said. "Choosing a partner who can manage stress at work and at home while being respectful, fair, and neutral gives a guy extra points for me." Similarly, watch how they handle difficult interactions with service workers. "I would want to see a potential date interact with a waiter who makes a mistake on the order," Megan said. "This would help me see how they treat people in service positions and how they handle a mistake."

A diverse crowd

Observing how someone acts with people they may not relate to, or agree with, is incredibly important before moving forward in a relationship. Remember, you won't always agree with each other, and you definitely won't always see eye to eye. "As someone who recently moved to the U.S., I am also interested in seeing how a person adapts to a culturally diverse environment. Accepting the diversity of this world is crucial when communicating with people," Anastasiia told Women.com. "So, it would be fascinating to observe how a person interacts with staff at a small cafe with a narrow ethnic cuisine.'


Even more important, pay attention to how your potential partner handles differences in values. Politics can be tricky to talk about on a date but seeing your potential partner in a political debate can be very enlightening. "Seeing the person I'm dating interact with someone whose views, especially political, are vastly different gives us clues as to how the person may handle conflict or differing opinions," Gloria said. Nothing gets people going like a political argument and the way your partner treats someone who challenges their views can be indicative of how they'll handle highly contentious conflict with you later on.