Author Topic: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?  (Read 28140 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Aeris

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9641
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #60 on: March 08, 2012, 11:29:11 PM »
Most of the people who tried to get me to "settle" had done so themselves.  I think it was a case of "misery loves company."

I think one of the semantical things that makes these conversations hard (here, and in RL with friends) is the relationship between 'settling' and 'compromising'. (Or perhaps even just 'bad compromising of values' and 'good compromising as an adult with other adults', if that makes sense).

For instance, if Jane decided that Prince Charming on a White Horse was not realistic, and decided to give 'normal guy Joe' a shot, and found she really liked him and felt great with him, her friend Mary might think she was just 'settling'. Mary might think it was sad that Jane had 'downgraded' her ideal vision of a potential mate, and even that Jane was pathetic for putting so high a value on 'just being with someone, anyone'. And perhaps that's true of Jane - or perhaps she found that giving normal guy Joe a chance made her happier than she ever could have thought she'd be.

On the flip - Jane could think that Mary was unrealistic in refusing to even consider a guy unless they met a laundry list of requirements, and that it was sad that Mary was cutting herself off from the potential happiness she could find dating a normal person. She could even think that Mary was being rigid and immature about refusing to consider anything but a virtual Adonis. And perhaps she'd be right about Mary - or perhaps Mary simply knows that she would be far happier alone than with someone who didn't meet her standards, which she doesn't actually think are so out of this world unrealistic.

What does it mean to 'settle'? What does it mean to make adult and rational 'compromises'?

I have friends all over the spectrum of this.

Jenna - a good friend who I would absolutely say has 'settled', in all the worst senses of that word. She is/was absolutely so obsessed with being with a guy, any guy, rightnowrightnowrightnow, that she stays in a horrible relationship with a guy who makes her feel like crap and quite literally has no redeeming qualities that anyone can fathom.

Mark - will only consider guys who meet a ridiculous list of insane and unrealistic characteristics. Won't cut potential mates the slack or benefit of the doubt that he expects them to give him. They are supposed to see past all his idiosyncrasies and flaws to get to know the 'real him', but will not do the same for them. Also constantly bemoans not being able to get a boyfriend and everyone else's coupledom.

Jenna thinks Mark is being immature and unrealistic. Mark thinks Jenna dropped her standards into the sewers. I think they're both right.

Of course, Jenna thinks everyone should be grateful a guy is willing to be with them, ever - which drives us all batty. And Mark thinks all of us have settled at one point or another just because someone we're with is human with human flaws, which also drives us all batty.

diesel_darlin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1086
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #61 on: March 08, 2012, 11:35:32 PM »
I am a big girl, and I am also really tall. Being large sized, I have always went for the bigger guys. I used to be horribly picky about this because I always thought it would be incredibly uncomfortable for me to be with a guy half my size and/or shorter than me.

 A couple of guys I used to work with kept telling me that one of my other co workers had a crush on me. Co worker is about 140# soaking wet, and around 5'7" which is several inches shorter than me.  I didn't give it much thought for a while, but they were quite persistent in telling me that I needed to talk to this guy. (we had a pretty laid back environment and dating co workers was not against the rules)
 After a few weeks of this, I finally caught co worker outside of work and chatted him up. I wasn't the least bit attracted to him, but I figured what the hey, maybe I'll at least gain a new friend out of the deal.


Our 2nd wedding anniversary is in July.  :)


I am by no means suggesting that your friend should settle, but I am suggesting that she open her mind to a wider variety of guys. Money isn't everything, and it certainly cant buy happiness. Hubby and I are broke, but we are happy.


Venus, my sister is just like Jenna. My BIL treats her like crap, but she is determined to be married, to somebody, ANYbody.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8545
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2012, 01:09:19 AM »

I think, too, that there's a difference between refusing to settle and being unrealistic about the likelihood of meeting someone who fits your criteria.

Attraction aside, the more specific your list is, the smaller the pool of potential dates, and the less likely you are to meet someone. Say your list is "male, makes more than $150,000 a year, above 6'2", blond hair, blue eyes, between the ages of 35 and 40, never married, Baptist".  Taking US statistics, and assuming the variables are independent**, that means that approximately 0.000006% of the population fits your criteria.  In a city of 20 million people, an average of 1 man will fit all of your requirements.  Then you still have to find them, be attracted to them, and have them be attracted to you.

So there's nothing wrong with having a very detailed, specific list, as long as you recognize that the price you pay for that is a significantly smaller probability of actually meeting someone.  Along with that goes not complaining too much to friends that you can't meet anyone good, when the main reason you don't is your list of requirements.

**The variables won't totally be statistically independent, but I'm not going to work out the details now. 

greencat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2744
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2012, 04:07:54 AM »
I had the "you need to do some work on yourself to attract the kind of guy you want" conversation with a VERY good friend...did not go well.  Do not attempt.  Other friend that does that I just bean-dip like crazy.

hobish

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18187
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2012, 04:25:45 AM »
Most of the people who tried to get me to "settle" had done so themselves.  I think it was a case of "misery loves company."

Gish and I prefer to think of it as "Who else would have us?"  ;)

It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

RandomAngel

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1577
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #65 on: March 09, 2012, 04:38:26 AM »

I think, too, that there's a difference between refusing to settle and being unrealistic about the likelihood of meeting someone who fits your criteria.

Attraction aside, the more specific your list is, the smaller the pool of potential dates, and the less likely you are to meet someone. Say your list is "male, makes more than $150,000 a year, above 6'2", blond hair, blue eyes, between the ages of 35 and 40, never married, Baptist".  Taking US statistics, and assuming the variables are independent**, that means that approximately 0.000006% of the population fits your criteria.  In a city of 20 million people, an average of 1 man will fit all of your requirements.  Then you still have to find them, be attracted to them, and have them be attracted to you.

So there's nothing wrong with having a very detailed, specific list, as long as you recognize that the price you pay for that is a significantly smaller probability of actually meeting someone.  Along with that goes not complaining too much to friends that you can't meet anyone good, when the main reason you don't is your list of requirements.

**The variables won't totally be statistically independent, but I'm not going to work out the details now.

This. People's standards, requirements, and deal-breakers are their own business, and it's really none of anyone else's to "help" them by trying to change their minds. Constantly moaning about it is the faux pas here, not the type of guy she wants to date. And that you CAN politely address.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16119
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #66 on: March 09, 2012, 06:36:23 AM »
Aeris:

Quote
Jenna thinks Mark is being immature and unrealistic. Mark thinks Jenna dropped her standards into the sewers. I think they're both right.

Of course, Jenna thinks everyone should be grateful a guy is willing to be with them, ever - which drives us all batty. And Mark thinks all of us have settled at one point or another just because someone we're with is human with human flaws, which also drives us all batty.

Aeris, my own family used to say what Jenna thinks.  My late brother used to say "You should accept your first marriage proposal because you'd be lucky to get any."  Granted, he said crap like this at the age of 12, but one never forgets this.  My own mother thought it was a rude comment, but I think after a while she thought the same thing.  I think she was afraid I could attract a better quality of man in the long run (assuming that any man was able to take a pass on beauty).

fountainof

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 669
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #67 on: March 09, 2012, 08:50:05 AM »
Like others have said I think it is hard to say anything that won't come off as rude.  Looking at the list it isn't so bad, I think the catering to her is the only criteria that is over the top.  I think we all have our lists and if you really want/need to get married asap you may be willing to compromise more.  I know for me I would never have married someone with no long-term good job prospects or someone less intelligent than me.  I would never have married anyone where we would struggle financially for ever as I believe financial security is the number one priority in life and happiness, love, etc. are what then follows. 

I think her complaining is the issue and you can address that.

ETA: Yikes, I use the word intelligent and then cannot spell  :D
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 08:58:27 AM by fountainof »

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8781
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #68 on: March 09, 2012, 08:57:50 AM »
I had an acquaintance who had a very strict list of qualities he was looking for in a wife. (Not girlfriend, he really wanted to get married.) She had to be vegan, a member of a specific religion which is a minority religion in the US, had to work for a non-profit organization, had to like dogs, had to want kids.

None of which is particularly unreasonable, but put all together--there just aren't that many women in the US who would fit all these criteria. It definately got annoying, listening to him moan and groan all the time about how he couldn't even meet a woman he could date just once.

In the end, one of his good male friends sat down with him and discussed all his criteria, from the point of view of figuring out why that criteria was important to him. Take religion--was it absolutely necessary for her to practice this one, particular religion, or could this mythical woman practice another religion with similar values? Was it the religion itself, or the values and morals that this religion, and several others, preached? Was it very important that she work for a non-profit? Or did he see someone who would work for a non-profit as more giving and more socially responsible? And was it possible that someone could work in a corporate environment and still have those values?

He was an intelligent guy and could see the reasoning behind this. And he did loosen up a bit and after a few years managed to find someone he fell in love with. She's a vegetarian, not vegan; she was willing to convert to his religion; and she is a nurse.

In this guy's case, he was using his criteria because he thought they would lead him to a certain type of person. Once he was able to see beyond the specifics to the general principles behind them, he was able to find a life partner.

Unfortunately, I think the young woman in the OP is looking for Prince Charming and I'm not sure he really exists.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


DavidH

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1826
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #69 on: March 09, 2012, 11:22:45 AM »
I think one option is to say that if after a year, two years, etc, you haven't met anyone who meets your criteria you need to ask yourself why.  When I say meet, I don't mean get married, etc, but even go out with.

One option could be you're looking in the wrong place.  For example, if you want to meet someone who practices a certain religion, maybe try to look on religious dating sites or through a religious group rather than a general site. 

Another option is that the criteria are too specific.  So if you say they have to be between 6' and 6'2" tall, ask yourself if you'd consider someone who's 5'11" to broaden the pool.  Another option is to ask yourself which criteria are critical and which are nice to have.  Is it critical that they are blond, or could you be attracted to someone with brown hair.  On the other hand, if you differ on basic values, that is probably a place where you need to hold firm. 

Settling carries a connotation of you really could and should have done better.  I don't think saying that on reflection some criteria you initially thought were important might not actually be that critical is the same thing.

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1429
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #70 on: March 09, 2012, 03:01:48 PM »
I think what you're trying to say is not so much "lower your standards" and more "you need to be realistic." She wants perfect, and perfect is never going to happen. Maybe what she should be looking for is "perfect for her."

Thanks, Winterlight. I think this is a nice way of looking at it. The notion that someone should lower their standards rubs me the wrong way, just like the notion that someone can be "out of your league." I object to the insinuation that there people who are "high quality" and those who are "low quality" and that someone else's preferences and perceptions should determine mine.

Sophia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11825
  • xi
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #71 on: March 09, 2012, 03:56:36 PM »
I don't know.  Some characteristics are considered more desirable than others.  No one says, "I want a poor, ugly guy with no sense of humor". 

I have thought less of someone (in my case it has always been a guy) who moans to me, "Why doesn't that stunningly beautiful woman want to date me?"  She should look beyond my looks to the great guy I am."  (sidenote, not that great)  Me, "Do you know anything about her beyond her looks?"  Him, "No". 
Sorry, but if you are generally considered to be 3 on a 10 point scale, don't hold out for a 9 unless you have a lot of something else to offer - like money. 

Aeris

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9641
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #72 on: March 09, 2012, 05:44:07 PM »
I don't know.  Some characteristics are considered more desirable than others.  No one says, "I want a poor, ugly guy with no sense of humor". 

I have thought less of someone (in my case it has always been a guy) who moans to me, "Why doesn't that stunningly beautiful woman want to date me?"  She should look beyond my looks to the great guy I am."  (sidenote, not that great)  Me, "Do you know anything about her beyond her looks?"  Him, "No". 
Sorry, but if you are generally considered to be 3 on a 10 point scale, don't hold out for a 9 unless you have a lot of something else to offer - like money.

Ugh. I know guys like this.

"Well what about <that other girl who's maybe a 5 on the hottie scale>?"
"Nah, I'm not attracted to her" (Note he's always 'not attracted' to anyone under a 9.  ::) )
"So, you want model girl over there to look beyond your looks and get to know the real you, but you have no interest in looking beyond the reasonably attractive girls looks to get to know the real her...."

::headdesk::

Corvid

  • Etiquette Hell Thread Assassin Squad
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 886
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #73 on: March 09, 2012, 06:17:20 PM »
Ha Ha! I hear you on the "Jared Padalecki lookalike" (even though I think he was cuter before he lost all the baby fat in his face!).

I miss the bangs.

Lady Snowdon

  • Super cool awesome title
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6073
Re: How to tell a friend that they are too picky?
« Reply #74 on: March 09, 2012, 10:21:56 PM »
Honestly, I wouldn't try and talk to your friend about her standards at all in any way.  Those talks go nowhere, and in a really bad way.  No matter how you try and phrase it, and what your intentions are, most people are going to hear, "I know better than you how to live your life".  That really makes people go on the defensive. 

It sounds to me as though you really just want her to stop complaining and whining and moaning she's doing about her dating problems.  What I would do in that case is deflect and give her no sympathy.  Comments like  "I've been out of the dating pool for so long that I don't know how I could possibly help you with what's going on" or "I never met any guys who fit your criteria when I was dating; I'm not sure I'm the person to talk to about it" don't give her anything.  If you've been sympathetic in the past, pulling back and stonewalling her a bit may give her the hint that you're not the person to come to with all these complaints.