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I have a friend. Let’s call her Ashley. Ashley is 32, well-educated, smart, attractive, and a good person. Years ago Ashley met David through a mutual friend. David is a physician, nice-looking, cultured, and has an outgoing, life-of-the-party personality. He was just her type. However, he lived in another state. Ashley and David went out, slept together, and Ashley didn’t hear from David after that. Later, he contacted her, and they began dating. To make a long story short, she relocated to his state, they dated for over two years, looked into buying a house together, and then, one day, David broke it off. Ashley told me later that David could be extremely moody and had always been against the idea of marriage.

After things ended with David, Ashley dated a bit and then met Evan online. Evan was also Ashley’s type – a physician, nice-looking, and enjoyed doing the things she liked to do. For their first date, Evan invited Ashley to his home for a late dinner. They went out a few more times, and Ashley really liked Evan. However, she noticed that she often initiated their dates, that Evan had stopped texting her, and that she wouldn’t hear from him for many days after spending the night at his house.  Eventually, Evan stopped contacting her.

Although there are a few specific things that Ashley could do differently or better, her problem is a broader one – she isn’t discriminating enough. In other words, she doesn’t have high standards.

 

Picky Vs. Discriminating

As I discuss in It’s Not Him, It’s YOU, when you date, there’s a difference between being picky and being discriminating. Being picky is about focusing on traits and other details that look good on the surface. Being discriminating is about using good judgment and focusing on how well a man treats you and how you connect with him. People often think having high standards means being picky, but it really means being discriminating. I’ve found that one reason many women struggle in dating is that they are too picky, and not discriminating enough.

Ashley has a type she likes. She seeks out highly educated, successful, nice looking men. While there is nothing wrong with this in principle, she focuses on the fact that they have the traits she likes and that she’s attracted to them, but doesn’t seem to notice that they aren’t the best matches for her or that they don’t treat her right. For example, David lived out of state, forcing her to move. He also didn’t want marriage, something she wanted. Finally, his moodiness meant that he didn’t always treat her that great. Ashley didn’t care – she wanted to be with David. And Evan – instead of meeting Ashley out, he asked her to come to his house, which shows that he’s lazy and doesn’t consider women’s safety. Ashley did not care. Evan did not show sufficient interest in Ashley. She didn’t seem to care about that either. Ashley focuses more on the traits and the attraction (picky) than she does on actual compatibility and how a guy treats her (discriminating).

 

What about Men?

Some men get pretty frustrated at how picky some women can be – that they want a man to be a certain height, have a certain caliber of job, make a certain income, or have “alpha” traits. However, men too can fall into the trap of being too picky and not discriminating enough, although it often looks different than it does in women. That will be next week’s blog… 🙂

What do you all think? Where’s the line between preferring certain traits, and putting those traits over what’s really important?