Author Topic: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?  (Read 26646 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2012, 02:38:51 PM »
I would never advocate being cruel to anyone, and especially not to a friend, but I think being honest with someone whose expectations are out of line with reality is being kind, not cruel.  I would never offer unsolicted dating advice, but if a friend continued to bemoan her single status I might offer my perspective on why she isn't (or he isn't, for that matter) finding what she claims to want.  In some ways I am reminded of another thread where another poster really really really wants to be in a specific competitive career when it is pretty clear to various people in her life (and on this board) that she is not well suited to the career and the career is likely impossible for her and if she keeps having her heart set on that career and encouraged to pursue it she will likely be heartbroken and devastated and defeated.  In some situations I think being honest, even though it might hurt, is being kind. 

Yvaine

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2012, 02:40:29 PM »

I think that it absolutely makes sense to come to these realizations.  There are standards I've relaxed in my life too (particularly when it comes to friends -- I'm a lot less picky now about the type of people I enjoy spending time with, but when I was a teenager I was a complete snob and thought only brilliant friends would do).

Where I run into problems is when it's other people trying to move you to make those realizations.  In my experience, and what I've seen with other similar friends, being *told* you need to relax your standards just isn't helpful -- we need to figure it out on our own (as you did with the spelling issue).  Perhaps it would help someone else to be told by a friend -- I don't know and I definitely can't speak for everyone.

On that, you may have a point.  :)

Surianne

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2012, 02:45:41 PM »
I would never advocate being cruel to anyone, and especially not to a friend, but I think being honest with someone whose expectations are out of line with reality is being kind, not cruel.  I would never offer unsolicted dating advice, but if a friend continued to bemoan her single status I might offer my perspective on why she isn't (or he isn't, for that matter) finding what she claims to want.  In some ways I am reminded of another thread where another poster really really really wants to be in a specific competitive career when it is pretty clear to various people in her life (and on this board) that she is not well suited to the career and the career is likely impossible for her and if she keeps having her heart set on that career and encouraged to pursue it she will likely be heartbroken and devastated and defeated.  In some situations I think being honest, even though it might hurt, is being kind.

That's a good point and I like the career analogy.  I think it would sit better with me if you (general) said something like "Let me know if you ever want insights into this, and I can give it some thought.  Sometimes a friend can see things that we can't."   And then leave it in the friend's court? 

In my case, people are trying to be kind too, but it's hearing the same thing over and over that really wears me down.  So if someone gave me the option of whether or not to listen, I could say "Oh thanks for the offer, but I actually know the problem, I was just ranting.  If I'm getting on your nerves let me know and we can change the subject" or whatever.

I'm definitely not an expert by any means, so these are all just my random thoughts. 

jmarvellous

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2012, 02:46:31 PM »
Courtsmad25, I'm reading one thing -- that your friend won't be able to get the man she wants -- as the issue you're asking us to help you address, but I'm getting the sense that the thing you actually want to address is something different -- that you don't want to hear about her struggles anymore because you think she's doing it wrong.

Now, forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but I think there's a very easy (or very challenging, depending on your friend's personality) way to address this.

Next time she complains that Peter was just perrrrfect until he wouldn't answer her call at 2 a.m., for example, you say:
"Friend, I know it's tough when a guy doesn't quite measure up. I really want you to be happy, and to find the right guy for you!"
"Thanks! Man, can you believe it? Peter was 6'5" and blond and spelled 'curmudgeonly' correctly on his profile, but when I called him for the 12th time he seemed a little ticked and ..."
"You know, I understand that you're looking for a really specific set of criteria, but I am having a hard time sympathizing right now. It's just hard to hear a good friend get let down by her own expectations time and time again."
"But I only want a perfect guy."
"And I only want to hear about your love life once you've found him! I want to be here for you, but it's getting tough listening to the same old story over and over. I can't keep going through this with you when I see you hurting yourself over and over."
(Ideally)"OK, well, I'll let you know when I go on a second date with someone."
(Or possibly)"You don't care about me!!!"

And you go on from there.

As far as one poster's comment that these sorts of guys don't look for dates online: I don't think that's true. A huge number of people look for dates online these days!

I also don't think the OP's friend's needs are unrealistic just because she's not super pretty or what have you (though the needy parts are unrealistic in my view because needy is not attractive to a mate!); lots of people are 'unequally' matched. But the less you stress about her stress, the happier you'll be! It takes some of us a lot more searching to find a good match than others, but that doesn't mean our standards are wrong.

Sirius

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2012, 02:53:51 PM »
Mr. Sirius was once told by a woman that she couldn't date him because he wasn't attractive enough.  She missed out on an awesome guy by looking on his exterior.  Some things I could bend on; I like blue eyes but Mr. Sirius has brown eyes.  I prefer dark hair; Mr. Sirius has virtually no hair.  These things are not important.  The things that are important he's got by the ton, and what he looks like is a distant second. 

lowspark

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2012, 02:56:40 PM »
There's nothing wrong with high standards, but one should be realistic, and the standards should have more to do with the depth of personality and how they treat you, that sort of thing, and less to do with superficial things.

I worked with someone years ago who had a similar list of criteria. The requirements I remember had to do with how much money he made, how much money he had saved up, and how much money he spent on her on the first date. Well you know, if a guy spends the required amount (a high $ figure at that time) on each first date he goes on, how's he supposed to save anything up?

That's not actually the point though. The point is that her list consisted mostly of superficial stuff. It's not about how much money he spends, it's more about how he treats you, how the two of you interact, what you have in common, how you get along, etc. But none of those kinds of things made her list. Instead of "he must spend $x on our first date" it should have been, "he must make me laugh on our first date" or some such.

Looking back, I think it was a sort of defense mechanism. I'm not married because I can't find the perfect guy who meets my list of impossible criteria. As opposed to, I'm not married because there's something wrong with me. Not that there was anything wrong with her -- that's not what I'm saying. I just think that deep down she probably had self-esteem issues and this was a way for her to make some kind of excuse for why she wasn't married. I'm guessing she'd either been hurt in the past or had had some bad d@ting experiences and this was her way of putting up a boundary and having a reason for not being in a rel@tionship.

As far as lowering your standards, as long as they are the right kind of standards (not superficial ones), then don't do it.

And regarding the idea that someone who is good looking wouldn't be attractive to someone who isn't, that's bogus too. I know couples where one is great looking and the other, not so much. A successful marriage is just so not about looks.

ilrag

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2012, 03:22:37 PM »
BG: I met this friend through work and although we are complete opposites on most things we managed to still be friends. Shes has decided on doing the internet dating thing, which is fine, but her standards are what I feel are crazy. The guys have to have:
1) Great grammar
2) good looking (and very specific, preferable blond hair, blue eyes, perfect teeth, GQ build etc)
3) Very successful (business owners are a plus)
4) *if they made it this far* must be at her beck and call and must be able to "amuse" her.
5) Must be between age x and y, z's too old
These seem minor like "well yeah, everyone deserves someone like that", but the way its presented is hideously shallow. I hear about these standards and problems while at work via work IM, then get bombarded at home with texts messages or phone calls, all complaints about these men, and how they aren't just right..and its been going on for months.

  The etiquette question: Can you politely tell someone that a) you don't have the looks NOR personality to be that picky and b)Can you politely say "look, until you decide to give an average guy a chance, I don't want to hear about this anymore?".  :o

  If I'm being too snarky please feel free to call me out on it.

I wouldn't say that "everyone deserves some one like that".  How many people like that can really exist?

1. Not too tough, but it's an awkward getting to know you question. 
2. Blonde hair and blue eyes is a pretty small percent of the population.  (Varies with location, clearly)  Same with the build.  Each of those limits the number of dudes you can really be into.  It's more then acceptable to have perferences but that combo can be in short supply.
3. How is success measured?  With happiness or dollar signs?
4. So...they can't work too much? I mean this seems to conflict with the one right before it.
5. Not a tough request, but combined with the rest of these it makes a limited number even smaller. 

How many men that she has dated come close to all of those requirements?

shhh its me

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2012, 03:39:43 PM »
   I think one thing you might be able to talk to her about ............it's contradictory to be able to drop everything to be at someones beck and call and to be very successful. Not that it can't happen but it an unusual combination the type of guy who takes calls and interrupts work from the girl he meet on the internet 2-4 weeks ago* , takes long lunches, leaves work because you need a tire changed or help finding your cat and takes off Fridays to have romantic weekends and is also very successful. Being very successful normally means being very committed and very driven.   I don't think this is a criticism of her just a discusion of human nature. I do know successfully people who take every call from their spouse but their spouses either only call in case of dire emergency or call about the same time everyday. I knew people with their owe business who never missed a kids baseball game and took their wife out every Friday , they worked ever Sat and Sun and sometimes to 2 am during the week. I knew someone who only worked  for 2 weeks out of every 8 and was very successful(was about 45 and was a genius in their field , this person did work 70-90 hour weeks for 20 years (before consulting) but would not be interrupted during those 2 weeks for anything short of death.  I think you can reply "Friend how do you expect someone to be successful and be at your beck and call , don't you see a contradiction there?"

I think you can tell her to stop complaining so much about what she doesn't like in a persons profile. Assuming she is.

* I get the impression that there are enough of these disappointments that she is talked about people she recently met?

Surianne

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2012, 03:41:30 PM »
   I think one thing you might be able to talk to her about ............it's contradictory to be able to drop everything to be at someones beck and call and to be very successful. Not that it can't happen but it an unusual combination the type of guy who takes calls and interrupts work from the girl he meet on the internet 2-4 weeks ago* , takes long lunches, leaves work because you need a tire changed or help finding your cat and takes off Fridays to have romantic weekends and is also very successful. Being very successful normally means being very committed and very driven.   I don't think this is a criticism of her just a discusion of human nature. I do know successfully people who take every call from their spouse but their spouses either only call in case of dire emergency or call about the same time everyday. I knew people with their owe business who never missed a kids baseball game and took their wife out every Friday , they worked ever Sat and Sun and sometimes to 2 am during the week. I knew someone who only worked  for 2 weeks out of every 8 and was very successful(was about 45 and was a genius in their field , this person did work 70-90 hour weeks for 20 years (before consulting) but would not be interrupted during those 2 weeks for anything short of death.  I think you can reply "Friend how do you expect someone to be successful and be at your beck and call , don't you see a contradiction there?"

I think you can tell her to stop complaining so much about what she doesn't like in a persons profile. Assuming she is.

* I get the impression that there are enough of these disappointments that she is talked about people she recently met?

Now that sort of phrasing I wouldn't have a big problem with, and I agree with the bolded.  (But of course with the caveat that you stop if she doesn't appear interested in hearing about the contradictions.)

Piratelvr1121

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2012, 03:52:53 PM »
I remember in college being attracted to one of the guys on the floor (co-ed: two suites each for boys and girls) and he just wasn't all that interested in me romantically, even though we were good friends.  In the end I figured I just wasn't his type, which was okay. But one of my suitemates knew I liked him (well okay, they all did) and she once said "Oh he'd date a stick if it showed interest."

Ouch.  Thanks a heap.  ::)  Meanwhile same suitemate would always whine that men didn't like her cause she was faaaat. So many times I wanted to say "No, honey, men aren't interested in you because of your sour, bitter, man-hating attitude."

I don't think it's a matter of your friend's own looks, just that her ideas of men just aren't realistic.  My bff is a confirmed bachelorette and she'll admit her standards are way too high and particular, but then she's content being single and having her fantasies. :)
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SisJackson

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2012, 04:01:44 PM »
When it comes to something like this, you can't tell them.  I've tried.  I had a good friend who had a longer laundry list of requirements, and it was much more specific - and she didn't meet most of them herself.

My friend, during her time on the matchmaker site she was on, found that the men she thought were attractive didn't contact her.  The ones that she thought were "below par" were the only ones who did.  She quit and rejoined and quit and rejoined this same site several times for years, always dissatisfied.  She complained that she knew the guys she was attracted to existed; she'd seen them, but always with someone else.  She would never have listened to any reasoning that she needed to be equal to her own standards.

I would never use the word "deserve" when it comes to people.  To me, the word means that you have earned it or have proven yourself worthy of something.  I wouldn't even know how to begin deciding how one goes about earning the right to be with someone hot or wealthy or whatever.

Editeer

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2012, 04:02:41 PM »
The first response that comes to mind is, "It's a d@ting site, not a man vending machine."  >:D

Instead of saying that she doesn't have the looks or personality (however true that may be), you might point out to her that any guys that are that wonderful are not going to be looking for a girlfriend on a dating site.

I would ask her if she wants advice or if she wants to vent about it. If she wants advice, then I'd tell her that she is being unrealistic in her expectations and that she needs to decide if she wants a relationship with a real guy or if she wants a fantasy man that is never going to materialize.


I think this is a good way to handle it. If she says she just wants to vent, then you can tell her that you're willing to listen to a certain amount of venting, but that there needs to be a limit (five minutes a day or whatever works for you).

In fact, you could address the amount of venting even if you decide not to say anything about her expectations.


DavidH

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2012, 04:10:52 PM »
The etiquette question: Can you politely tell someone that a) you don't have the looks NOR personality to be that picky and b)Can you politely say "look, until you decide to give an average guy a chance, I don't want to hear about this anymore?". 

For the former, I don't think there is a polite way to say precisely that, but you might say, have you considered which part of your wish list is really important to you.  You could add, since dating sites can convey only limited information are you presenting yourself in the best possible light.  Maybe add, make sure that your profile is designed to attract that type of guy.

For the second, you could say, it's your right to be very specific, but you greatly limit the pool of available people.  I understand your frustration, but just hearing about it makes me frustrated too.  I think you either need to decide what's really important to you, or not be surprised when the pool of eligible guys is so small.

purplemuse

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2012, 04:34:11 PM »
I wonder if she would benefit from skipping the online dating... not because "that type of guy" isn't on there, but maybe to get a better feel for what she really considers important.

When you date online (at least on the official dating sites-- I think it's different if you randomly start chatting with someone), it's easy to dismiss someone if they don't look like what you want "on paper," but if you go to a party/bar/church group/book club, and the 5'10 brunet with a mid-range salary makes your heart skip a beat, that's a little harder to ignore.

I mean, it's important to have standards; but actually meeting other people can help you determine what your standards should be to help you find your best match, and sometimes you might even get blindsided by a "type" you never thought you would be interested in.

And maybe her list is what she needs from her "best match," but to me, it kind of reads like the sort of thing we women are "supposed to" want in a man.

courtsmad25

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Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2012, 04:34:23 PM »
Courtsmad25, I'm reading one thing -- that your friend won't be able to get the man she wants -- as the issue you're asking us to help you address, but I'm getting the sense that the thing you actually want to address is something different -- that you don't want to hear about her struggles anymore because you think she's doing it wrong.

Now, forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but I think there's a very easy (or very challenging, depending on your friend's personality) way to address this.

Next time she complains that Peter was just perrrrfect until he wouldn't answer her call at 2 a.m., for example, you say:
"Friend, I know it's tough when a guy doesn't quite measure up. I really want you to be happy, and to find the right guy for you!"
"Thanks! Man, can you believe it? Peter was 6'5" and blond and spelled 'curmudgeonly' correctly on his profile, but when I called him for the 12th time he seemed a little ticked and ..."
"You know, I understand that you're looking for a really specific set of criteria, but I am having a hard time sympathizing right now. It's just hard to hear a good friend get let down by her own expectations time and time again."
"But I only want a perfect guy."
"And I only want to hear about your love life once you've found him! I want to be here for you, but it's getting tough listening to the same old story over and over. I can't keep going through this with you when I see you hurting yourself over and over."
(Ideally)"OK, well, I'll let you know when I go on a second date with someone."
(Or possibly)"You don't care about me!!!"

And you go on from there.

As far as one poster's comment that these sorts of guys don't look for dates online: I don't think that's true. A huge number of people look for dates online these days!

I also don't think the OP's friend's needs are unrealistic just because she's not super pretty or what have you (though the needy parts are unrealistic in my view because needy is not attractive to a mate!); lots of people are 'unequally' matched. But the less you stress about her stress, the happier you'll be! It takes some of us a lot more searching to find a good match than others, but that doesn't mean our standards are wrong.

THIS!!! I was out of state for my father-in-laws funeral and i'm getting texts about so and so canceled their date due to a business meeting and she's mad...I should have said the part of about date "in your level" thing...its not about that honestly.. its the look I've suggested scenarios like "what if he's a social worker and LOVES his job but doesn't make make much money?" and of course the response is "well, I wouldn't want someone that can't pay for XYZ".