Not quite ready to unveil my Happiness Project just yet - still need to finish tweaking my April goals. But, I'm in the middle of "epic travel week" at work and had some downtime here in San Diego so I thought I'd ramble here a bit. :-)
My BFF Jewels lives in NYC and is single. We have these long conversations about how you meet someone (other than work, school and friends) and what we are looking for in our ideal mate. She’s my sounding board for romantic decisions and often she and my Mom are the only people in my life-giving me honest feedback. A few months ago we started talking about online dating - how to do it, which site to do it on etc. I've heard both horror stories and success stories but never really did it with any seriousness. Jewels has never tried it and is intrigued, but reserved. Her friend Jill got turned on to the book Amy Webb wrote called “Data: A Love Story”. Amy is the mentor to Jewels’ good friend Bill (Jill's BF) so it was a friend of a friend type thing (and I always find those more rewarding to read - this is a real person!). I love data, I love hearing love stories - sounded right up my alley. I literally read the entire book in a 3 hour block my first night in Detroit (I probably could have finished in 2 but there were chapters worth rereading, diagrams that deserved consideration and emotional parts to absorb fully). :-)
The book was amazing. Amy is a 30-yr old Jew...ish award-winning journalist and super nerd who finds herself single in Philly and flummoxed by the amount of terrible dates she’s going on via online dating sites. Why are they so bad? Why are these men not a match for her? Finally she realizes that it’s not that her standards are too high (which all women are told throughout life). No, the problem is she wasn’t using the “algorithms” to her advantage. She wasn’t sussing out potential suitors and comparing them to what she wants and needs in a partner. So she sat down and made a “Mary Poppins List” of her perfect partner. Then she did a bunch of crazy nerdy math (which honestly lost me but I found it fascinating) and began evaluating her potential suitors against this list - holding firm that they had to reach a minimum points threshold before she would talk to them never-mind date them.
An example of nerdy math (although honestly this was the tip of the iceberg):
I think a lot about what I’m attracted to and why - but I have never thought about what I need from another person in order to be my best. Amy’s list made me realize I was going for superficial check boxes and not looking at someone’s inner workings - Did I really care if they went to college? Did I need someone who had the same family life I did? No (some of the smartest people in my life have great jobs and never went to college) and no, not everyone is going to have the dynamic I have with my parents and that’s OK. However, I DO need someone who’s driven and has a good career (because I have both) and someone who is willing to fit into my crazy, awesome family and go with the flow. Is she too picky? Eh, I can't say that but I will say she's specific. I once read that if you want to get serious, you have to get specific. In Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project" she talks about identifying the problem (something I need to work on). Why are you dating the wrong people? What qualities are you attracted to and why is that not working for you long-term? All good food for thought!
I won't ruin the book by giving away my favorite parts but suffice to say it is an absolute must read - even if you're not single you'll find it both entertaining and intriguing. It goes to show that there is so much more at play in human interactions than you realize. You're saying you want X but are you really pursuing X or are you still hung on trying to make A B or C fit into the box X should fill? Do you even know what about X makes it so desirable? Last night I got back to my hotel around midnight and couldn't fall asleep, I was too amped up (thank you Starbucks). I sat down and made myself a Mary Poppins list of dating must-haves. It felt liberating to get everything I would love in another person out on paper then to stop and compare that to the men I find myself with. The match up? Not.even.close. LOL.
The exercise made me realize that I'm being too broad. If I got specific....I want someone who is excited to come home to me. I want someone who I get excited to come home to. That shouldn't be hard. I want someone who doesn't just agree with everything I say but has his own opinions and keeps me on my toes. I end up with people I am SO different from that all we do is bicker. No one wants that! I realized it's more than a "type" (mine is tall, white and nerdy) it's a "core compatibility" (thank you E-Harmony for that buzz word). I know I can be melodramatic and crazy (all women can) so I need someone calm who balances me out. I know I am an ultimate planner so someone who goes with the flow is a better fit than someone who tries to out-plan me. Realizing these things about myself has made me excited to pursue dating at some point this year. Why not now? I have a little "me" work that needs to happen before I'm ready to start dating. I need to get myself to a place where I feel comfortable dating and being rejected (because rejection is inevitable). Aiming for late summer/early fall.
What are your dating ideals? Does your current mate meet those? Do they have qualities you didn't think you'd be attracted to and now find yourself smitten with? Please share! :-)