Is Being Less Picky Just Lowering My Standards?


It is no secret that my mom wants grand kids. And not “Oops, the condom broke” grand kids, she wants the real deal. So the fact that I’ve been sans serious boyfriend for a very long time now is getting her a bit anxious. (Though, I have to say, even if I was on the verge of marriage, those things aren’t coming out of my thing any time soon.)

Every time I’m home I get the same question: “Met anyone yet?” And every time I have the same answer: “Nope.”

I’m flattered by the fact that she’s consistently surprised (or very good at acting that way) and always feel a pang of guilt that her only daughter has yet to rope in a man. And when she sits down and begins to give me pointers and advice on what I might be doing wrong, I really try and listen, but I’m not sure I can take advice about lingerie, acting like a lady and making the guy “buy the milk” from a woman who has been married for 30 years. And happens to be my mother. Barf.

But her most recent lecture got me thinking: “Maybe you should open yourself up a bit and try dating different kinds of guys.”

I went through the Rolodex in my head of all the guys I’d ever dated or wanted. They were all quite similar: tall, sarcastic, good dressers… Maybe she had a point. Maybe things haven’t been working out for me because I’m looking at the wrong people. Maybe it’s time to start looking for love in other places, try dating someone a bit younger, or shorter, or less educated than me.

Maybe the type of shoes the guy is wearing isn’t so important.

But at the same time, isn’t that lowering my standards? Why should I have to settle for someone who isn’t exactly what I want? It’s not like I’m looking for Brad Pitt perfect; I’m looking for my perfect. I shouldn’t have to give in just to find someone. I don’t want just someone – I want the one.

I don’t want to be alone forever (I could really use a BF to pick me up from the bar when my shoes hurt too much to walk home), but I don’t want to give up on my perfect man just to have someone, either.

What do you think? Is opening up to new people just another form of lowering your standards?



  1. Jess says:

    My Mom is the direct opposite, she doesn't want me to even be in a serious relationship and definitely doesn't want me having kids until I'm 30.

    Anyways, if you've been dating the same type of guys over and over with no luck, it doesn't seem like you'd have anything to lose – but do it for yourself and don't ever settle just to be with someone.

  2. Emmie says:

    I don't think it's lowering your standards. You have certain things you want in a guy that you're not willing to compromise (good sense of sarcasm, good education, etc.) but then there are those things that you'd like ideally but that aren't essential (his shoes, perhaps?) Lowering your standards would be compromising what you don't want to. Being less picky is not letting the nonessentials hang you up.

  3. Dee says:

    I'm having the same situation; I've been single for over a yr now; I don't want someone that is less educated than me, I just want the same I'm offering back.

    If I speak 4 languages, he at least should speak 3; you know stuff like that.

    I don't think you should lower your standards, just analyze what's really important for you.

  4. Cat. says:

    I don't think dating someone different is lowering you standards. I mean you have have some standards about men like criminal records or bad behavior but what difference does it make if the person is not like you.. if it doesn't have a college degree or speaks many languages, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, you may find a guy that at first does not meet your standards and it turn out he's better than everyone you've ever dated

  5. Blair says:

    I agree with Dee. Before you can find out who's really right for you, you have to know what you need. And you learn that by going on a wide variety of dates. Opening your mind isn't lowering your standards; it's just figuring them out.

  6. grace b says:

    I agree with Emmie.

    The last time I went for someone who wasn't my "ideal" and lowered my standards I discovered he was totally not the guy for me.

    As long as you're content with being single (well as content as we single/3rd wheel girls can be) you will be thankful for your standards as you watch your friends get treated like crap or have some other really crappy relationship. Lol

  7. Courtney says:

    This is just plain stupid. No girls should have kids or get married until they get to be at least 30. Before then, you are just setting yourself up for a disaster. Being divorced with kids will ruin the rest of your life and will make you undesirable for the rest of your life. Just wait. I am glad everyone agrees with me.

  8. Jen says:

    Well it sounds good that your not in a serious relationship; you're much too selfish. And while listing your idiotic requirements is well and good have you ever thought of analyzing the reasons behind them? What do the shoes represent to you? Are they really important or are you using them as an excuse to not be in a relationship? Is there something about it that scares you?

    If your parents have a thirty year long marriage that's wonderful! It sounds like your relationship with your mother is good if a bit strained. Is there something there you don't want? I'm not even going to comment on the absurdity of her comments to you.

    In any event I think your main problem is being unrealistic in expecting someone to conform to your every wish and girlish fantasy. But you sound smart so I'm surprised you bought that belief. Either you are really naive and think another human being should be expected to fit your complete ideal or your lying to yourself.

    So lowering expectations: no. Being realistic and maybe even an adult: yes.

  9. katrina says:

    Courtney–that may be great for some people, but there are plenty of people who get married before they're 30 and their marriages work out just fine.

    It isn't as black and white as "you get married and have kids before you're 30 and you're screwed". Don't be so quick to judge what other people do, even if it's not something you would do yourself

  10. g-nat says:

    Lately I've been having the exact same problem. Not having a trouble getting dates or guys wanting my number but rather finding anyone that I want to see more than a handful of times let alone spend the night. And I laughed out loud when I read your thought that what shoes guys wear shouldn't be important…. but it totally is. I went out with a guy who wore converse to a salsa club… really? (I'm not a snob but I do not for one second believe that this particular guy didn't have something more appropriate) How are we supposed to ever begin thinking about marriage if we can't even find guys we want to start a relationship with?

  11. Lisa says:

    In my experience, I have found that my friends that have all these requirements and call them 'high standards' are looking for a fictional guy or don't even know what they're looking for. I think the best bet is being open minded, going on a date with a guy you don't think it'll work out with.I mean, come on, it's not going to be THAT painful, and you might surprise yourself. You'll run into a guy you didn't expect to be perfect for you, but he will be, and then happy ever after! (Or something…)

  12. Sarah says:

    Seeing as the only similarities between your past boyfriends/lovers all have to do with physical appearance and style, I'd say it shouldn't be that hard to start dating different types of guys. It's not lowering your standards, and just because a guy isn't as tall as you'd like or doesn't shop at Express Men (or whatever), doesn't mean you two can't be compatible.

    Stop being so superficial and open your eyes a little more. There could be a really sweet guy hiding behind that beard and flannel shirt. ;)

  13. Darwin says:

    Don't let your mom force you to not be yourself. However, you can still take her advice that maybe you can open up. You're not signing a contract to marry your date. Just try things out.

  14. Effie says:

    I think a lot of times, a guy's style reflects who he is a little bit. So I can see why that matters. To me, how a guy takes care of himself definitely matters. But also, it should be remembered that you can tweak a guy's style too.

  15. JT says:

    Can someone explain how it is mature/intelligent to disqualify someone as a possible date based on their shoes? Sounds a lot like using your cat to determine if you should keep dating someone.

    Dating is something where a high failure rate is not just expected but desired b/c that's how you learn about yourself.

    Plus, one thing to consider, not having been in a relationship can be a big red flag b/c in most cases it's not just b/c the girl hasn't found the right person.

  16. chillymax says:

    You say you want "the one" but you really want a man who fits your template, and then maybe you'll fall in love with him.

    Why not try seeing who you fall in love with and go from there?

    Love will keep people together longer than dress sense.

    Most women I know who really love their man found he was not at all who they expected to find.

    And as for education being important… most of the stupid people I know are very well educated. Try smart instead of educated.

  17. Suzette says:

    I feel like Im never going to find anyone. My mom always says Im way too picky but that its a good thing. Guys are always hitting on me and I know Im good looking its just that i dont know what i want exactly in a guy. I have never had a boyfriend and always find an excuse not to gve them a chance. I wish I could be different I just dont feel normal when everyone around me is in and out of relationships and Im the 3rd wheel single girl.

  18. […] same time, though, we wanna show off our new boobs (thank you, cookies!), try to meet a man that meets our standards (like one of these hunka hunka burning loves) and have sex (but not that other icky act) on the […]

  19. Denise says:

    Maybe your idea of perfect isn't the best person for you in the long-run. I honestly do believe that we don't know what's good for us and maybe trying out different types of guys will be a good way to determine that. If it doesn't work, you can go back to your method, but if it does, you still win ;)

  20. Courtney says:

    Remember Charlotte from Sex and the City? She has this picture of the perfect guy and she finds Trey. They have a perfect wedding, but he turns out to be a sucky husband. Then she meets Harry… he's hairy, bald and Jewish. But that ends up being her guy. Yeah, its a fictional situation, but maybe the writers were just trying to say to open your mind to the possibilities or you could miss out.

    And now I sound preachy… sorry about that.

  21. […] fare isn’t going to kill you or your sex life. This also isn’t to say that we should reject preferences altogether. When it comes to personality or personal beliefs, preferences make sense to some […]

  22. jp says:

    Maybe if you'd listed qualities that actually mattered – like intelligence (which =!= education by the way), maturity, compassion, ambition etc., I'd feel some sympathy for you. You're probably passing up witty, average-height guys who wouldn't mind getting a few style tips that you would actually connect with.

    And as for the girl who says if you speak 4 languages, he needs to speak 3? That's lame. How about: If I have hobbies I'm passionate about, he has to have some too? I may speak 4 languages (which I actually do, by the way), but if he's an accomplished musician/artist/golfer/insert-talent, then that balances it out nicely. That makes more sense, because the underlying quality that you're really looking for is someone with passion & talent.

    Too picky (and probably not knowing what you want): I want a 6'2" man who is only 2-7 years older than me, who earns $x a year, with a Master's degree, who has travelled to y# of countries, drinks only booze z and knows the difference between Gucci and Prada. (What if he's emotionally or physically abusive? or the chemistry just isn't there?)

    Knowing what you want (and not settling): I want a man who is confident, who I can have an intelligent debate with, who has integrity and zest for life. (Because you're more likely to have a successful relationship with a guy whose personality you like more than his clothes or height.)

    I sincerely hope you end up with a short, bald guy with appalling taste in clothes and realise how shallow you are now and how much happier you are being with a guy for who he actually is and how being with him makes you feel.

  23. Salome says:


    “I mean you have have some standards about men like criminal records or bad behavior but what difference does it make if the person is not like you.. if it doesn’t have a college degree or speaks many languages, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover”

    Your standards are a little too low, methinks. Asking for a guy with the same education level is hardly being picky, especially if you want to make the relationship long-term and money is a concern. It’s good to be open-minded, but if you limit yourself to just the bare minimum every woman has for an acceptable guy – like not being a criminal, not being mean – then you’re going to have a lot of difficulty finding someone who is right for you. There’s a big difference between choosing guys based on shoe preference and choosing guys based on their education level and how much money they make.

    Different people are going to have different needs in a spouse. For example, my mom and stepdad get along perfectly despite the fact that they have radically different tastes in music. But as a composer, I’m a bit choosier in that regard. It’s not like I expect a guy to love classical music the best, but if he doesn’t know & appreciate a little bit about it, it’s going to be hard for him to understand what I do every day. Because I’m also very politically active, I also couldn’t date someone whose political views are too different from mine, though they don’t have to be the same on every issue. To some of my friends, it might seem like I’m being a bit picky, but I can easily point out other areas where they’re choosier than I am; for example, I don’t care much about whether a guy is interested in sports or not, but I can see how that would be important to an athlete or fan.

    The author could be a bit more open-minded, but that doesn’t mean she needs to completely chuck out her standards. For a lot of us, education level is a very important consideration, and just because you don’t care much about it doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way or it’s “right” to do so. I’ve seen a lot of bad relationships come about when a highly-educated woman feels she needs to compromise on the education front and dates a guy who never went to college and has no intellectual interests. I think you’re being way too judgmental here.

  24. Tabitha says:

    What are your standards exactly? Do they have to do more with what shoes he's wearing, or how he responds when you're upset? Women like to make lists of the traits they want in men, but there's a big difference between grocery shopping and boyfriend shopping. It depends on why you want a boyfriend. To pick you up from the bar? Call a taxi. To complement your smart dress tastes? Get a handbag. To be there for you when no one else will? Now you're talking.

  25. […] once told me that the reason I’m still single is because my standards are too high. I laughed in her face, flipping through a mental catalog of the disgusting creatures who’ve […]

  26. […] know it seems like it should go without saying, but sometimes as singles we get pushed into giving people another chance when we know good and well, our minds have been made up before we even go on the next […]

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