Slander. Defamation. Mudslinging. Label it how you like, it's all a warning sign when your friends criticize someone you're dating. So why is it we never really seem to want to listen? I submit because the warn-er is not properly expressing the message to their warn-ee:
"That guy's a douche."
"I hate that @hole."
"He's just not good enough for you."
Truth be told, I've had several of these comments thrown my way as a warning against men I've gone out with. Why did I continue to go out with him? Because I didn't SEE any of that bad behaviour. And it was mere speculation that he really was that evil of a person. So you think he's not good enough? Why? Because he doesn't fit YOUR criteria for what a man should be? He's a jerk? Why? Because things didn't work out when he dated a friend of yours? Since he didn't marry her, clearly he must be a mess for ALL women? Now that just doesn't seem fair. And it doesn't sound like an accurate assessment of character when you're the one having the experience of someone treating you perfectly well.
Of course, it turns out, all my friends were right. Every time I've had a friend warn me, that friend has been right. You'd think that by now I would listen. Why is it so hard for the message to get through? I'll tell you why. It's not like I'm a masochist. I've never (to my knowledge) been treated poorly by someone I've dated. Nor do I desire to be in a relationship with someone my friends dislike. But when someone makes a blanket judgement like, "he's an idiot," about the man I'm seeing who is, in my experience, nothing near an idiot, I take that kind of critique with a few grains of salt. What if my friend simply had a bad experience? Gossip is unreliable! People get reputations off of inaccurate information all the time! How unfair would that be to hold someone to past behaviour- especially if the details of such events is based on inaccuracy to begin with?!? You see the dilemma.
Here is my humble suggestion. Warn your friends when they are dating a sociopath/pervert/nitwit. But warn with specifics. Now, you know I abhor idle gossip and name-dropping with a passion. However, in a situation where someone is at risk, I say grab your bullhorn and sound the alert! Don't simply say, "That guy is not good enough for you." Say, "that guy has no respect for women because he systematically seduces them, sleeps with them, and then leaves them." Or, "he is a hypocrite because he is self-righteous and indignant here, but then goes on business trips and drinks and sleeps with women." Or, "he is the kind of person who uses people to get what he wants and then disposes of them and has no remorse or sense of morality." Okay. That gives me a more accurate perception of your reason for rejection. Otherwise, I'm thinking you don't like his resume, or he isn't good-looking enough, or lacks education, or that he wears the same pants 3 days in a row. That is quite a difference.
Remember, we believe in the Atonement. We believe in forgiveness. And when we're told something nasty about another person, we're left to wonder at what stage in repentance they're in, and how can one begin to judge another when we have a gospel built on the hope that we are all progressing and striving to improve with righteousness? At the same time, to judge wisely, we must recognize that patterns of the past indicate behaviour in the future.
Your friends want you to find a good relationship. They want you to be happy. They want you to be successful. If they criticize, trust me; is is not without a significant amount of humility and care for your well-being that they go out of their way to say something about it. So the next time your friend says, "I'm not impressed." You know to take what she says one step further. Ask why. Discover specifics. Understand where they're coming from. And be warned. If none of your friends like him, it's probably not just because he has a lame haircut.