Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make a list, not a type

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend who was in a long-term relationship with a guy she loved a lot (they've since gotten married). I wasn't seeing anyone special at the time, and we were talking about how tough it was for me to find guys worth dating.

"Have you made a list?" she asked me.

I had not. It had never even occurred to me. I mean - I knew what I wanted in a boyfriend - in my head. Basically. That was good enough, right?

"I made a list," she said. "I wrote down exactly what I wanted in a guy, and anytime I met someone who didn't fit into what I wanted, I didn't date him. Then I met John, and I forgot all about the list. A few years later, I found it, crumpled up in a desk drawer. I read it - and realized John was everything on the list."

At first, it sounded like creating a "type" for yourself - which I've always felt was a bad idea. If you lock yourself into needing a guy with a certain look, or a certain job, or specific beliefs - you tend to overlook wonderful people. I think having a type tends to make us focus on the less-important qualities in people.

But my friend wasn't talking about creating a type. She wasn't talking about assigning characteristics to the perfect guy. She was talking about making a list about yourself; what's important to you.

Is it important to you that a guy be ready to commit, or be stable. Or maybe you would like a free-spirit who will join in your adventures. Maybe it really want children of your own, and someone who shares that dream is important to you. Or maybe you want to raise your family in a particular place, or with a particular faith, and finding a like-minded someone is important.

The point is, the list is about figuring out what you want, and then keeping yourself open to finding a person who lines up with those goals and dreams. He might be tall or blonde or rich or smart - or none of the above. But he can make your most important dreams come to life - and that's what's important.

I'll admit, I've never written a list myself. But after that conversation, I started to really take inventory of myself, and what I wanted in a relationship.

I guess it really doesn't matter if the list is on a piece of paper, or on a file on your laptop - or just in your head. The point is, you better know what you want before you go looking - or you'll keep finding the wrong guys.


  1. I met my fiance on a dating site, which forced me to make that list - although I already knew what I was looking for. I know people online often lie about what they want, but Chris didn't and he truly is everything I want.

  2. ^ I could have written that exact thing about shaun and myself! That's kind of why dating sites CAN work. Your list can be right there, and it's a nice head start if youre both honest about who you are and what you want.

  3. It's funny that I wandered over to your blog from... oh drat, now I don't remember... but reading this entry kind of reminds me about my fiance. I don't believe in having a "type", but I do believe in finding what you want in a person -- maybe not all things, but some things -- and even though we've strayed from each other several times before, it's like we've always been meant to be together. Wow, that was way more mushy than I wanted it to be. And looking back over all of the things that I wanted... well... he's them. Every one of them.

    Dating sites weren't my thing, but I definitely have seen them work their magic. My own mother met her husband on a dating site, and my ex met his new lady on a dating site - and now they're engaged and having a baby too. :)

    Hope you don't mind, I'll probably be stalking your blog from now on. :)