Is Being Too Picky Ruining Your Love Life?

Is being picky a good thing or a bad thing in dating?

Look, if there’s one area that’s worth being fussy about in life, it’s your relationships. A relationship is a big commitment; they require time, energy, emotional investment – all commodities that we don’t want to spend too easily.

So when it comes to love, be as picky as you want.

But does that mean we should be picky at every stage of the process? No!

What most of us do is get too picky too soon, when in fact, at the beginning of the process (when we are single and looking), we should actually be totally unpicky.

Welcome to your next boyfriend? (Photo: Wiseacre)


I know this sounds weird coming from me. I’m the one always harping on about living up to your standards, and never expecting second-best; how can I now turn around and tell you not to be picky?

I’ll tell you, because there is this frustrating pattern, and it can be summed up pretty simply: people are using “being picky” as an excuse for sitting on their asses and waiting.

I see this with my guy friends all the time when we go out: “The problem with me” they’ll say, “is I’m just so picky”. And then they turn to other excuses: “All the women here are just shallow.” “These girls aren’t my type.” “I need girls who are fun/smart/deep/ have a different look.”

Whatever the guy’s excuse, he’ll decide that (a) none of the women in the place have what he’s looking for, and (b) he now has a go-to excuse for NEVER SPEAKING TO ANYONE.

And this isn’t just a guy problem by the way. We all make generalisations about people so that we can excuse ourselves from taking risks.

We’ll think to ourselves: “Well, he’s not my 100% perfect guy, so he’s not really for me.” And we’ll often use this as our excuse EVEN IF WE’VE NEVER EVEN SPOKEN TO HIM!

I know this kind of behaviour because I’ve done it myself a million times. I would look at that one woman at the party I wanted to speak to, avoid conversation with her the entire night, and then in my head I would make up some lame excuse about how she was probably shallow anyway because it made me feel better about not taking a chance.

But look, I know most of us GENUINELY ARE PICKY. And that’s fine. But we have to be careful what we are picky about.

When it comes to love, be picky. When it comes to meeting people, NEVER be picky.

The reason is twofold:

1) Great people are EVERYWHERE

There is no-one who couldn’t use having another great person in their phonebook.

What’s more, some of the most cherished relationships (including romantic partners) I have ever had in my life were people I initially never would have thought I would have been interested in. But suddenly when I let go of my prejudices and gave them a chance, I was completely hooked on their personality.

Never fill in someone’s personality with your eyes! The right person rarely jumps out at us immediately.

How tragic would it be if we let our ideal partner slip away before they ever got a chance to show us how perfect they are.

2) Being judgmental is an unattractive quality

Being picky too early makes us come off as judgmental, and that’s a person no-one wants to be around.

If a guy proves to be an idiot, then lose him. But at least give him a chance to prove he’s not.

Remember, it’s hard to see the good in people when you’re only looking for the bad.

Question of the day:

What are two things you MUST have in a guy who date? Let me know in the comments below as we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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195 Replies to “Is Being Too Picky Ruining Your Love Life?”

  • But Matthew, how about a fate? We see that so many people are desperate and trying so hard to get a guy? But sometimes, even in movies, that real love happens when you are not looking for it… When you are not trying hard or getting headache and heartbreak trying to figure it out, sometimes that’s what brings the two… I mean, sometimes when you’re not doing anything, no approach and nothing else, he already had seen you and prepared himself to present himself… Do you believe in fate? Or should we take that fate to our own hands?

    1. I do agree with you…as i was reading, my mind went back to all of mine relationships…and all of them happened without me making expecting anything or making an effort.
      I met all of them casually (fate), by chance really.

      I guess everything Matthew says is to act the way we already do when we are not expecting to find anyone, this way when we meet that guy by “chance” things happen naturally…and by happening naturally it works.

  • Although I usually answer this question saying “he has to be “hot, tall, preferably blond with gorgeous blue eyes, incredibly fashionable, beautiful hair and delicious scent (in other words, Scandinavian!!),” deep down inside I most appreciate:

    1. intelligence: both academic and emotional. This includes much such as: academic/professional achievement mixed with ambition and drive, etc but also sensitivity.

    2. kind altruism: he definitely needs to be one of those “I want to make this world better–want to join me?” He doesn’t need to be necessarily a doc (like me–well future!) or a philanthropist, he just needs to do something with his life that is not only fulfilling to him but that also contributes to the advancement of society and the relief of pain among the most disadvantaged.

  • 1. I need to feel safe in his arms–so the strength of his arms must match the strength of his character.

    2. The more I talk and the more he truly listens, the less I will want to talk and the more I will want to act (as in DO and BECOME)–for him, with him, sometimes without him.. but always because he has made me want to be my best self.

    And in return, . .

    I will learn to truly communicate to him how much I appreciate the strength of his character and the safety of his arms around me.


    I will challenge and support and encourage and love him from my heart and with my actions. And he will experience greater joy and achievement than he ever thought was possible.

  • 1. He should be a good person,
    2. He should make me feel like i’m the only one in his life (and mean it)

    But about d article i had few doubts… I know a guy and i know he has some habits i dont like or cant tolerate, and sounds fake to me most of d times…so should i still giv him a chance or m i just making excuses or hung up to my ex?
    As in where to draw a line and how narrowly should u filter out d guys u date??

  • 1) i feel so shallow saying this, but for me i have to be attracted to them physically at least in some respect.
    2) He’s a good person. Someone who always tries to do the right thing.

  • My friend introduced me to you! And I know you may not read this, but I’ll put it anyways.
    1. Communication is so important. Between actually being able to talk with each other and conflict styles, communication is dire!
    2. Attractiveness. I’ll admit I have a bit of a shallow side, but heck, I try hard to look good, and if I’m not attracted in anyway to someone, it really wouldn’t work out.

  • 1) education- he must be smart a d not stuffy about it
    2) direction- he needs to know where he is going in life…will he be able to support a family and how will he make it work.

  • Wow!! I’m the picky type definitely, so it’s difficult to come up with just two things! So, as rebel as I am, I chose 3 :

    1) Maturity

    2) He has to be smart (hate a conversation with a guy who can only talk about the weather, and there’s no substantial chat at all, plus I can’t stand shallow and self-centered dudes)

    3) He has to keep me guessing somehow, keep a bit of a mystery (that’a why I’m innitially attracted to older guys most of the time)

  • Well, I am actually picky when it comes to guys because as i have realized that when guys are courting me, they are not my type-of-guy. What i am really looking into are:
    1. First, The guy should mature enough not just mentally but also physically. I tend to get attracted to guys who are 10 years older and above. For me, it’s a bit exciting and fun to meet guys not within my age bracket.
    2. The guy must be independent from his family yet he is deeply oriented with them.
    3. I like intellectual guys yet will listen to me no matter how knowledgeable he is.

  • My top two traits I want most in a man is:
    – Attractiveness. Usually its physical attraction for me. I just want to like what I see and want to kiss/lust for them.
    – A good heart. I want a guy, who is at the core of his being, deeply cares for my well being and others. I want that “nice” boy.

    (third one)
    -Sense of adventure. I know you said only two. But this is the ideal guy for me. A nice, attractive guy who wants to go out and experience the world with me. Someone who rather live life than simply exist.

  • I tend to be very visual – forever checking guys out wherever I go. The other night my brother introduced me to his flat mate. I took one look at him and had already decided I wasn’t attracted to him. Nevertheless, we started having a conversation. We got on really well. As the evening progressed we kept coming back to each other. I felt more and more drawn to him, there was this immense magnetism. He hinted at being interested, but I was too taken aback to respond. When I got home I was kicking myself for not having been more forward. Although I wasn’t attracted to his looks and he didn’t do or say anything to make me fancy him, the chemistry was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before…

  • Being trustworthy & a kindred spirit. I hate to sound ‘shallow’ but it’s WORST turnoff for me when the guy’s poor oral hygiene jumps out (instead of good quality)!

  • I am extremely impressed together with your writing skills as smartly as with the layout for your blog.
    Is this a paid subject matter oor did you modify itt your self?
    Either waay stay up the excellentt quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a great blog like this
    one today..

  • People need to focus on inner characteristics of a person rather than so much on the physical appearance of the person (height, weight, looks). You should feel attracted to someone physically, but remember in the long run it’s the personality and the commitment that keeps a married couple together in the long run. Sometimes it is necessary for men or women to water down their standards in order to get married. You can’t have high standards and be demanding, because no person on earth is perfect. Every person has flaws; weaknesses and strengths. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are and look for someone who can be your strength to your weaknesses. People need to focus on inner qualities. Unfortunately, you got many males and women who are overly picky and turn down very good people simply because of their looks, height, weight, education, job, salary, or something and say “that’s not my type” or “I will find the perfect guy or girl.” They reject so many good people and many do regret later on when things get hard for them finding a partner. Look at the Chinese women in China the women are called Left Over Women if you aren’t married by the age of 27 years old. Many men say the women are picky and materialistic wanting a man with high salary, own a home, tall, handsome, etc. If people remain picky the truth is sooner or later they will learn the hard way.

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