We interrupt the professional matchmaking blog series to address a pervasive myth all single people hate hearing and debunking on the regular: we’re single because we’re “too picky.” I’m hitting this topic now, for after my last post, a number of singles told me they’d been wanting to say everything I’d written, but held back out of politeness. Worry not, fellow singles, I’ve got you covered. The truth bombs are coming. Hide your children.
People are single because they’re “too picky” myth is toxic. Firstly, it assumes being coupled off is an active choice, as if being coupled is an accomplishment rather than a blessing. Wrong. Secondly, it assumes someone who is single is single because they’ve made a series of missteps leading to their aloneness, in this case, turning down suitors for petty reasons. Wrong.
If you’re coupled off, congratulations. Please understand the “congratulations” is an acknowledgment of a blessing, not an accomplishment. I’ll delve into differences between blessings and accomplishments in a later post, but for the sake of my point: if an animal can do it, it’s not an accomplishment. In this case, finding a mate and engaging in sexual intercourse. A natural blessing, yes. Accomplishment, no.
Allow me a brief moment to qualify “single,” as it’s listed in my personal dictionary:
- A legal adult (18 and over)
- Not married/never married
- Living on your own (alone or with room-mates, paying rent, not living with mommy and/or daddy)
- Financially stable (you’re employed, you may have some debt but it’s under control)
Using the factors above, I was officially single when I was 21. I graduated college, landed a good job, and lived in an apartment alone. I paid my rent, wasn’t in debt, was not married. Single.
When people asked what I was looking for in a man, their response to my answers was “you’re too picky.” Even in my early twenties I thought the response was inappropriate. You asked me what I was looking for. Then shot me down for answering honestly.
Pro-tip: if you don’t want my honest answer, don’t ask the question.
“Wow, you’re so picky! No wonder you’re single!”
In 11 years I’ve never barricaded my door to this mob of suitors the “you’re too picky” naysayers assumed I was batting away for “petty” reasons. Sorry for all the scare quotes. They’re necessary. Yet the pervasive “you’re too picky” insult infected my critically-thinking mind anyway. Like some kind of brain-eating amoeba.
Result? I stopped asking appropriate questions about proposed men to avoid the “you’re too picky” accusations for asking simple questions like: “Does he have a job?” or “Is he smart?”
It seems coupled people harbor a deep down assumption that singles should adopt the beggars can’t be choosers platitude, hence their pushing of singles together based on nothing but their marital status.
Instead of asking if a man was a good match, I went along for the ride–opting to learn myself to avoid the predictable pickiness lecture.
None of these suitors worked. Those standards I held dear to me when I was much younger? I abandoned them to prove I wasn’t picky. DIDN’T WORK!
Setting reasonable expectations for a romantic partner isn’t picky. It’s reasonable. Therefore I’ll define what’s reasonable and what’s picky. Because this is my blog, not yours, they’re my personal standards, with random examples of pickiness. Yours may differ. Please spare me the “Those aren’t my standards,” talking point. If you want to chime in, feel free to start your own blog. Love you.
Standards vs. Picky
Reasonable standard: He wants the same things, in my case, eventually getting married and having a family.
Picky: “He wants to live in a five bedroom ranch home in Montana (with horses). We’ll have four children. We’ll retire at 75 with $2.5 million saved. Then we’ll travel the world, starting first with a tour of the United States in our Airstream.”
Reasonable standard: He needs to have a job capable of supporting a family.
Picky: “He’s an attending neurosurgeon. Like McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy.”
Reasonable standard: He’s physically attractive.
Picky: “He’s 6’2″, 190 pounds, with sandy blonde hair, a chin dimple, with a body befitting a Greek god. He’s basically Chris Hemsworth as Thor. I want nothing less!”
Reasonable standard: He’s intelligent.
Picky: “He graduated sum cum laude from an ivy league school, preferably Stanford. I really need a college educated man. That’s, like, super important. Bonus if he’s a member of MENSA!”
Reasonable standard: He’s a good, honest man.
Picky: “He visits sick kids in the hospital every week, just like Russell Wilson!”
Reasonable standard: He shares similar values with me: a Christian (preferably Catholic) conservative.*
Picky: “If not an ivy league school, he graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and rather than traveling abroad in college, he clerked for Justice Scalia!”
Reasonable standard: We have some things in common.
Picky: “He must be originally from California, love English styled horse-back riding, Harry Potter, CrossFit, kickboxing, classical music, dogs, reading, sailing AND going to Ikea!” (yes, I love all of these things, for realzies this time).
See the difference? In essence, when seeking my “ideal man” I’m setting reasonable standards for reasonable success, understanding a man who possesses the above is looking for the same in his ideal woman. Building a foundation. It’s a thing. Guess how many men I’ve dated in the past 11 years who possessed all of the above? ZERO.
Which means I’ve casted a wide net. I’ve dated men just because they were single. I took the “you’re too picky” insult to heart. I’m done now. I haven’t been “too picky.” I’ve barely been “particular.”
The next time you want to tell someone “you’re too picky,” I’d kindly advise you keep your mouth shut. Sound harsh? Not sorry. The only person who can decide if a suitor is right for them is the person themselves. Unlike public policy, who someone chooses for their life long partner doesn’t affect you. So don’t take someone’s choice in a mate personally. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
If you’re tired of hearing the “You’re too picky” line and cannot read them the riot act (or this post), I have a suggestion… if you’re looking for one. Answer honestly: “No, I’m not too picky. I’m simply not looking to date anyone just to date them.” It’s always okay to say “No” when they want to set you up with someone you’re not interested in. They’re responsible for their own feelings. You are not.
There are dozens of statements singles are sick and tired of hearing. I can’t cover all of them thoroughly in one post. But feel free to Google “Things single people hate hearing.” It might save your life.
*I’m determined to keep this blog a politically-free zone. If you’re a friend of mine, it’s possible you didn’t even know I am a conservative or Catholic. I do not wish to engage in political or religious debate here, if at all. I’ve always had left-leaning friends and do not see that ever changing. But for a person I’m spending the rest of my life with, and raising a family with, sharing similar values is a reasonable standard to have. It’s likely you share values with your spouse, I seek the same in mine.
Thank you so much for this post! I’m 35 and still haven’t found my guy yet. I hear this ALL. THE. TIME. It’s incredibly frustrating and has actually had the opposite effect because I end up taking it to heart and not putting myself out there if I’m just self sabotaging as they say.
Basically all my standards. Love to see someone so like minded… be my best friend?
Great article! I think you’re spot on (granted I’m 33 and have had similar experiences). I was in the service for about 11 years and the biggest problem people had (which caused mass divorce) was not being “picky” enough. Keep up the excellent work!
Yo, I pretty much fit all these criteria, except I’m orthodox, does that count?