Before she dated Nick, Jessica loved Annie Hall and Lorde. Now, she won’t shut up about Django Unchained, and she skipped Lorde to see Future in Newark. Ugh, we know. Jessica’s a total poseur. But, them’s the breaks when friends couple up. (Don’t worry, Nick probably knows every Lorde lyric now, too.)
Now, what you’ve known since high school has been confirmed by science: When two people start dating, they morph into each other.
As reported in the journal Developmental Psychology, researchers at Florida Atlantic University confirmed the newly love-sick acquire new interests (rap collectives, Tiffany?) and lingo (Bernie Sanders is a real mensch, John?). They also take on each other’s drinking habits (which, again, we’ve all known since high school, or at least college).
The first part of the study involved teen participants — 662 girls and 574 boys, ages 12 to 19 — who completed a “measure of alcohol abuse”; their friends and romantic partners did the same. Then, researchers monitored the teens and their friends to see how their alcohol habits changed when they got into romantic relationships.
To do that, researchers selected a subgroup of the original participants — 266 boys, 374 girls — as well as friends with whom they’d had stable relationships for at least two years. At the beginning of the study, everyone was single. Over the course of the study, some made the Facebook status switch to “in a relationship.”
In these cases, researchers saw similarities in alcohol consumption decline between friends and increase with their beaus. Meanwhile, unattached teens and those in relationships consumed roughly the same amount of alcohol overall, leading researchers to conclude that becoming a lover doesn’t make someone a lush, per se:
“The findings suggest that participation in a romantic relationship does not elevate the risk of alcohol abuse beyond that involved in participation in friendships… Instead, it is the source of the risk that changes. Friends no longer shape drinking habits the way they used to. Romantic partners now dictate terms. Your friends were right: You aren't the same person you were when you were single.”
Again, this isn’t to say that everyone drinks more when they pair up. The shifts are just as likely to go in the other direction if, say, a new boo doesn’t touch the stuff. If your teenager has terrible taste in friends, this might actually be good news. Assuming she doesn’t start quoting Tarantino, that is.