If you’re like Jerry Seinfeld, your answer to this question would be that there is no such thing as being too picky. His character broke up with nearly 40 women over the course of nine seasons on the popular television series for reasons such as:
• Marlene didn’t like his stand-up comedy
• Naomi had an Elmer Fudd laugh
• Jody wouldn’t give him a massage
• He had too much in common with Jeanie
• Melanie ate her peas one at a time
• Gillian had “man hands”
While these episodes were meant to poke fun at the dating scene, there are people for whom these reasons actually hit just a little too close to home. Could you be one of them?
What’s Considered ‘Too Picky?’
There is a fine line between ‘too picky’ and ‘knowing what you want.’ When a person describes their ideal mate, their qualities usually include a combination of core values, preferences, and the absence of certain annoyances. Such core values might include honesty, integrity, and faithfulness. Preferences might consist of a height, weight, music style, and yearly earnings, while annoyances might be classified as bad table manners, a peculiar laugh, or being fashion-challenged.
Core values are traits most people cannot change, nor are they willing to compromise. It is where a line is drawn as to what is acceptable in a relationship, and is considered a good reason for being picky. Preferences and similarities are nice to have when you are getting to know someone, but are not considered as importance as a core value. The annoying traits, however, are when the line gets a little fuzzy as to whether or not it’s considered being too picky.
People use certain stereotypes when meeting new people. Most everyone has a vision of what their ideal mate should be like. And they set out on a quest to find that person based on ‘requirements’ like blond hair, broad shoulders or a six-figure salary. They move from one dating site to another, racking up hours in coffee shops and bars, trying to find ‘the one.’ While desiring perfection in a partner is normal, it is also completely unrealistic.
When Picky Spells Trouble
The key is not whether you are picky, but rather what you choose to be picky about. In some cases, being overly picky is an excuse for other problems, such as fear of commitment, intimacy, or a self-esteem issue. A person with a fear of commitment or intimacy may hide behind the fact that nobody they date is ever good enough to settle down with for any significant amount of time.
The person with self-esteem issues may be constantly on guard to avoid rejection by doing the majority of the rejecting. Sort of an ‘I’ll dump them before they dump me,’ type of safeguarding. True love is not the quick infatuation associated with lust, jealousy, and passion. Love takes time to grow, and if you never give anyone the chance to hang around long enough, you may never graduate past a passionate relationship and onto a romantic one (the most coveted of all).
The ‘Open’ Dating Approach
Looking for true love is like seeking the most beautiful rose in the world, but only being given a certain group of seeds from which to grow it. With this in mind, when you are introduced to someone new, try not to worry about your list of qualifications on the first few dates. Allow the nights (or days) to unfold, paying particular attention to how they make you feel at the end of the date. Look past their flaws, asking yourself, “could I live with this?” Oftentimes, initial annoyances like poor table manners can be easily overcome by loosening your expectations and allowing the person to improve by your example.
By putting part of the responsibility of finding a mate on your own intuition, rather than a list of guidelines, you will become more open to experiencing a partner who may not have been very high on your list initially. In fact, it may be one of the people you least expect who could become everything you were looking for, as long as you’re open to the experience. Finding love is not a race, and it is not like picking out fine china. It takes understanding, compromise, and the patience to allow each seed to sprout.