In this paper, we propose a novel social network aware approach for user association in wireless small cell networks. The proposed approach exploits social relationships between user equipments (UEs) and their physical proximity to optimize the network throughput. We formulate the problem as a matching game between UEs and their serving nodes (SNs). In our proposed game, the serving node can be a small cell base station (SCBS) or an important node with device-to-device capabilities. In this game, the SCBSs and UEs maximize their respective utility functions capturing both the spatial and social structures of the network. We show that the proposed game belongs to the class of matching games with externalities. Subsequently, we propose a distributed algorithm using which the SCBSs and UEs interact and reach a stable matching. We show the convergence of the proposed algorithm and study the properties of the resulting matching. Simulation results show that the proposed socially-aware user association approach can efficiently offload traffic while yielding a significant gain reaching up to 63% in terms of data rates as compared to the classical (social-unaware) approach.