If you’ve been reading this blog and/or my newsletters for some time, you already know how much I tend to harp on “settling”.
Essentially, I firmly believe that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get into a long-term relationship with ANYONE who isn’t really who we want.
That’s all well and good.
But a couple of days ago, someone wrote in and basically asked this:
“Okay, smart guy. It’s loud and clear by now that I shouldn’t ‘settle’. But wait a minute, Trigger. How am I supposed to know if I’m being TOO picky?”
Interesting. On the surface, one’s knee-jerk reaction might be to assume that if “settling” is such a dirty, forbidden state of affairs then there would theoretically not be any such thing as being “too picky”.
But as it turns out, you really CAN cross the line if you’re not careful.
Yes, you need to be selective. But, you can’t be unreasonable. There’s a balance to be struck there, really.
As I see it, there are at least seven key indicators that you’re in danger of moving from reasonable selectivity to extreme pickiness. Here they are…
1) You’re seeking impossible combinations
You and only you can decide who turns you on. But is the man or woman of your dreams even POSSIBLE?
For example, if you’re a guy who dreams of a cute redhead with a pretty smile and a sweet voice that’s a rare enough combination as it is. You’ll look far and wide for her.
But if you want her to also speak fluent Arabic, ride motocross and watch “Game Of Thrones” you’ll more than likely NEVER find her.
2) Your “checklist” is objective rather than subjective
If you’re sensible about finding someone who you’re attracted to and who you get along with, you’ll center your ideals around general principles of compatibility rather than more granular and perhaps idiosyncratic factors.
For example, if you want someone who’s emotionally stable, financially responsible, good in bed, has a great sense of humor and shares the same faith as you then so be it. All of those are reasonable virtues to expect in a high quality human being who you might get along with.
The problem arises when we demand that our potential significant other share some rather arbitrary black-and-white preferences with us, or else they won’t cut it.
This twisted mindset might culminate in dumping someone perfectly wonderful who you actually are thrilled with because he or she doesn’t watch Mad Men or like 80’s music.
Perhaps ironically, the plain truth is that the more complex and/or manifold your arbitrary criteria are, the less likely they’ll probably have any real bearing on how well you get along with someone else anyway, frankly.
3) You’ve never actually met anyone like that
This one is pretty plain and simple. If you’ve got this image of the “perfect” person, how do you really KNOW that’s who you truly want if you’ve never even MET someone who fits that exact description?
And here’s an even better question. If you’ve been walking around on this planet for as long as you have and yet have NOT ever met anyone like that, how can you be so sure he or she even exists in the wild?
4) You’re being too dogmatic
Are you utterly opinionated about your “checklist” of what you want in a partner? Or can you bring yourself to allow for the possibility that someone might come along and challenge your preconceived notion of who your perfect partner would be?
Everyone is an individual, and it just MIGHT be possible that someone appears out of nowhere who happens to have been more creative at being amazing than you were at imagining what he or she would be like.
But if you’re either too stubborn or myopic to recognize that possibility, you’re very likely to miss out.
5) You don’t have access to who you’re looking for (and aren’t doing anything about it)
I happen to live in San Antonio, TX. We’re about three hours from the Mexican border, and our demographic reflects that.
Fortunately for me, I really love Mexican culture, and I find dark-haired Latinas particularly attractive.
That’s a great thing, because if I preferred blonde Scandinavian women with Swedish accents I’d have a problem. More specifically, I’d be in the WRONG PLACE to find a whole lot of women like that, so I probably wouldn’t.
Meanwhile, were I to move to, say, Sweden, the problem would be solved.
6) You’re attempting to replace a specific person who “got away”
This is a particularly insidious one. And it can be subliminal…some people do this without even consciously realizing it.
Essentially, the situation would be that you were in love with someone before, but the reality is that an unfortunate breakup happened. Yet, you still pretty much idealize this person to the point where you’re convinced you’ll only be happy with someone who’s just like him or her.
You’ve probably heard Adele’s song “Someone Like You” a thousand times in the past two years, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock. If you found the lyrics depressing and possibly even a bit pathetic every single time, then you’re crystal clear on the concept I’m trying to convey here.
Leave the past where it belongs and move forward.
7) You’re doing nothing to deserve who you want
I’ll never forget the time I heard an obese, slovenly guy who’d not taken a shower in two weeks—and who also had zero ambition and bad breath—tell me how he fully expected his “own private Jennifer Lopez to come along someday and accept him exactly the way he is”.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it wasn’t going to happen. But rest assured, it didn’t.
You’ve got high standards? I applaud that.
But I also applaud doing your part to be the very best version of your authentic self so that the man or woman of your dreams wants YOU just as badly as you want him or her.
If you’re unwilling to do that, then yes…you’re being too picky. You’re going to have to lower your standards to someone who’s more like yourself.
Hopefully, that won’t feel like “settling” to you. But if it does, you’ll know what you’ve got to do.
Ultimately, the criteria you use to find a great match should help you get CLOSER to being with the right person instead of the wrong one. They shouldn’t virtually ELIMINATE everyone from your dating pool, thereby taking you FARTHER away from getting into a terrific relationship.
That’s the crux of the whole matter, right there. A healthy mindset would be to celebrate what’s right about MOTOS (members of the opposite sex) we meet rather than focusing on finding fault instead. Start by evaluating what’s right rather than what’s wrong and you’ll be much more likely to find someone terrific.
So then, is pickiness really just a protection mechanism against getting hurt?
Are unreasonably picky people perhaps unconsciously happier alone for the time being, and therefore avoiding getting “hitched” to someone else?
Those are both excellent questions to ask ourselves.
P.S. Did I miss any solid signs of unreasonable pickiness? Do you think there are other very real reasons why people get that way? I want to know your opinions, so go ahead and let me know your thoughts below…