Are We “Too Picky”?

If you’re single (and you don’t want to be), you’ve probably asked yourself the question, “Am I being too picky?” There’s got to be a reason why you’re not in a relationship with someone, right? and you’re sure the reason has something to do with you. People of the opposite sex do exist, and if you’re not in a relationship with one of them you might think that 1) you’re not attractive and so they aren’t asking you out, or 2) you’re too picky and so you’re avoiding/turning down relationships with certain people.

As a 25-year-old single woman, I ask myself this question, too. And I’ve been encouraged to do so by much of the relationship advice I’ve read. You might have read some of this, too. I’m talking about those articles that tell girls to tear-up their “perfect man” list and give any decent guy a chance if he asks them out. Which sounds pretty good in theory, but that’s pretty much how two of the three dates I’ve been on were with guys literally old enough to be my father, and the third was with an atheist who obviously didn’t meet my first requirement that a guy I date have a strong, Christian faith.

Now, I’m not saying you should hang onto unrealistic expectations that will leave you like this skeleton over here –> but you do need to have some standards, and you don’t have to feel guilty for insisting people meet those standards. You are under no obligation to “pity date” anyone, or fling yourself at the first living breathing human who shows the slightest bit of interest in you.

“The One”

This weekend, I spent a good bit of time catching up on Boundless.org articles that I’d missed and checking out TrueLoveDates.com. What stood out to me on Boundless was two articles that offer step-by-step guides for men and for women on how to get married. They can both be summed up in the deceptively simple advice “be more attractive.”

Well, thank you Boundless-author. Previous to reading this article I was going for unattractive. I’ll change that now, and dates will magically appear.

Or not.

“What if I meet the one?”

These articles are part of a three-part relationship series. The first article was devoted to debunking the myth of “the one.” I actually agree with most of what he writes in this one — many Christian singles are too passive, waiting for God to drop their perfect match in their lap or hit them with a revelatory bolt of lightning when he or she shows up. But usually when people tell you to stop looking for “the one”/”your soulmate,” they are also telling you “you’re too picky” (also see my article “Why I Still Believe In Soul Mates“).  And I think it’s a little more complicated than this Boundless authors seems to think.

He says that if you’re a guy, there are only two reasons you’re not in a relationship: “1. You’re not asking. 2. No one’s saying yes.” The solutions are equally simple: “Man up” and “Be awesome.”

If you’re a girl, the reasons you’re single are “1. You’re saying “no” a lot” or “2. No one’s asking.” We’re given three things we can do to turn this around: “Demonstrate respect,” “Look good,” and “Be fun.”

Be (at least a little) Picky

Much as I love Boundless, TrueLoveDates.com had much more helpful tips this time. It’s a website run by Christian relationship counselor Debra Fileta. I’m really looking forward to reading more of her blog posts, and eventually her book. She has some great insight into the whole dating vs. courtship thing, but I won’t digress on that topic right now.

Her most recent articles have been 10 Guys You Should NEVER Date, 10 Girls You Should NEVER Date, and The Boyfriend Checklist: 10 Guys You SHOULD Date (I assume her next post will be a girlfriend checklist). They are focused on qualities you should either avoid or look for in a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, and eventually spouse. And they presuppose a certain level of picky-ness — that you won’t settle for Mr. On Again & Off Again, or Ms. Nothin’ In There But Air, or Mr. Sorta Spiritual, or Ms. One-Way-Street.

Even more helpful lists can be found in Fileta’s article What Women Really Want in a Man and What Men Really Want in a Woman. They are great, both for “this is what you should look for” and “this is the kind of person you need to be.” She says women want honesty, purity, strength, compassion, and humility. Men want realness, confidence, beauty, and passion. These aren’t impossible standards, and you really should be “picky” enough not to settle for less.

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3 thoughts on “Are We “Too Picky”?

  1. Do you really think Christians are too passive with waiting? I can see Satan has been active in my life by putting a man, who I believe is not a Christian, close to me. I like him and I’m trying not to. Maybe I am too passive waiting on God.

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    • I do think we can become too passive, assuming God will do everything for us and all we have to do is sit-back and watch. We tend to do this in relationships more than other areas of our lives, I think. We’ll go out and look for a good job, or go to school and get a degree, but we don’t seem willing to devote that kind of energy to seeking out a spouse. Instead of waiting for God to turn on the proverbial light bulb and show us who we’re supposed to be with, I think we should be actively pursuing relationships with people and getting to know them well enough that we can tell (with prayer and while seeking God’s will) if we want to spend the rest of our lives with one of them.

      I’m not sure from how you describe the situation with your unbelieving friend if you think you should be more active in avoiding a relationship with him, or if you are considering pursuing a relationship and seeing if something can be worked out regarding the religious differences, or if you think you should more actively seek out Christian men to date. I do know a few people who started dating outside the church, and then the person they were interested in became a Christian. I think, however, that in general it’s a good idea for Christians to seek out other Christians when looking for romance. (I actually just wrote an article about this topic that was published on Boundless: https://community.focusonthefamily.com/b/boundless/archive/2015/01/02/what-to-do-when-an-unbeliever-wants-to-date-you.aspx)

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