Dear Dating Coach,
If I hear I am being too ‘picky’ one more time I will explode! I am not picky, frankly – I am barely discerning. I am merely trying to feel a connection with my dates. How do I explain to well-meaning family and friends that they are making me feel like I need to stand outside with a sign saying, “Anyone will do.” Are they right? Should I stop looking for the ‘one’ and start looking for ‘anyone?’
I love the term foodie. It sounds so funny on the tongue (no pun intended) and it is meant to connote a ‘gourmet’ who is very particular about their food options. Today anyone can be a foodie, as long as you have a discerning palette and an eye for elevated ingredients (not me). You just need to be able to pick gouda from gruyere, honey from agave, and a potato from a pot’ah’to. For bonus points you can take pictures of your dinner and ask the general public to form an opinion on your food choices. Preferably of course, having eaten at a place that serves only farm to table, carefully curated, artisanal, and deconstructed food. Maybe those things don’t go together, but don’t settle until you find a restaurant where you can have it all. Get to it, Foodie. I will be eating my tuna sandwich at home.
It must be incredibly frustrating to hear that you are ‘picky’ from family and friends when you are diligently trying to find your zivug. This completely discounts the anxiety and stress that you must already feel from the constant pressure of the shidduch scene. As if they are somehow blaming you for not enjoying the same mazel as your friends who are already engaged or married. Their determination that you are being too picky only reinforces any self-doubt you already feel about this process and makes you second-guess the choices you have made. Are you being too picky? The only way to know for sure if your palette has become too discerning is to self-reflect and evaluate how you approach dating.
There are three ways I believe that you can see if you are too particular in shidduchim.
- I Want It All
If you have a list of all the qualities and characteristics that you want in a mate and it includes hyper-specifics, then you are probably being too picky. Terms like kindness, generosity, hardworking, smart, and warm are all legitimate attributes that you should hope for in your future spouse. Specifics, however, like schooling, neighborhood, and hair color will severely limit your choices. When someone is suggested to you that sounds wonderful, but doesn’t have the educational background you hoped for, saying no would make you picky. If someone you meet is lovely, but doesn’t live locally like you wanted, saying no would make you picky. ‘All or none’, is not an attitude compatible with finding your bashert.
- Three’s a Charm
Think of the last time you had a third date. If you can’t recall the last time you went on one, you may be too picky. If you dismiss a potential date after the first couple of meetings then you may not be allowing yourself the chance to connect with someone new. I always say that two dates are like flying across the U.S. with a stranger on an airplane and then flying back with them. It is just too short of a time to truly bond with anyone. Whereas a third date offers that hint of familiarity that allows us to relax and connect. A third date encourages daters to get past the traditional getting-to-know-you exchange of information, and lets them showcase their personalities and personal beliefs. If you can’t remember the last time that you said yes to a third date, you may be too picky.
- Judge Judy
Be honest with yourself. If you have judged and rejected someone within the first few minutes of meeting them, then you are almost certainly too picky. Think of the last singles party you went to where you scanned the room, faked a phone call and left. Think of the last time you met someone at a Shabbos table, and then ignored her through the meal because of a snap judgement. Think of the last date you went on, where the door opened and unimpressed, you decided to turn the date into a quick drink instead of dinner. If any of those scenarios strike a chord, you are probably too picky.
However, if you believe that you are open to possibilities, and not overly specific in dating, if you do make it to date three on a regular basis, and you give your dates your full attention no matter your first impression, then you are not picky. You are merely on a journey to find your bashert; a process that you are entitled to, and one that will ultimately yield success. But if you identify with the above, then it might be time to reevaluate your foodie ways, and enjoy the dinners that you are offered. An open mind and an open heart, means you are much less likely to go hungry.