Lessons in tight t-shirts and long dating checklists

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a person is writing the checklist

6’2″, blue eyes, brown hair, small ears, big feet …

‘You’re too picky!’

‘You’re never going to find someone …’

‘Your checklist is longer than the Great Wall of China …’

‘You need to be more open minded!’

A high pitched acapella of well- meaning friends and family sharing their insights into why I was still single.

‘Grrr … what do you know?!’ my inner voice would snappily reply. ‘You’re just trying to marry me off to the first person that will have me, so you don’t have to worry about whether you should give me a plus-one to your party.’

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I wished more than once that their partners would turn into Chewbacca’s cousin, then they’d know what it feels like to be told you need to be more open minded. I was constantly waiting for the day I could turn up with Chris Hemsworth’s doppelgänger as my plus- one. That would show them …

Sounds familiar?

Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking from my passive- aggressive introduction that this is an article about standing by your checklist. It is not. And as I much as I don’t like to admit my friends were right, experience has taught me not to be ruled by the checklist.

I’m not saying you should do away with it altogether as we all have our likes and dislikes. However, after several years of bowing to the altar of the checklist and some pretty extensive dating experience – 221 dates, 3008 instant messages, 1401 text messages, 10 phone calls – finally finding the guy for me in someone who ticked none of my boxes.

Here are the reasons why I’m no longer flying the flag for the checklist:

  1. Lower odds

The likelihood of finding someone who ticks all of your criteria is slimmer than Kendall Jenner’s skinny jeans. How’s this for odds?! You have a 1 in 67 chance of having twins, a 1 in 55 chance of becoming a millionaire and a 1 in 562 chance of finding love.

Be it occupation, height, education, location, age, interests, hair colour, eye colour, personality traits, beliefs. With every box you add you’re lowering your odds for success.

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When I was dating, I remember thinking the odds were so stacked against me, that I might as well start naming my cats now or worse – still audition for Marriage At First Sight. It was only when I started removing criteria, did I realise there are so many more eligible people out there. Being too picky only works at the Pic ‘n’ Mix, so don’t hinder your chances by being too prescriptive, limit your checklist to what’s really important to you.

  1. Self- sabotage

You may not realise it, but you could be hiding behind your checklist for fear of rejection or getting hurt. The longer the list is, the more you have an excuse to not go on a date. You owe it to yourself to be honest about what your true motives are for being so prescriptive. Don’t sabotage your chances of love by hiding behind a never-ending checklist.

  1. Unintentional bias

Having a checklist can make us unconsciously biased. They become ingrained in our minds, making us blind to prospective partners.

Have you ever wondered whether you should have given someone a second chance, a second date? When I first met my now boyfriend, I couldn’t see beyond his tradesman job, tight t-shirt and overly ripe pecks. I was convinced he was a player. All I could think about throughout the date was he must have a harem and I wonder if he buys his t-shirts from the kid’s department. And how wrong I was! Turns out, his friend recommended the poor t-shirt choice and his harem is strictly reserved for one woman only.

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The lesson here is this: put all of your preconceived ideas aside, don’t prematurely write people off. Give that person enough time to show you who they truly are.

  1. You don’t always know what you like

Most of the time you won’t know what you like until you encounter it. Think of all the times you’ve been introduced to a new cuisine and you’ve pulled a face like a bulldog eating a wasp because you thought you wouldn’t like it, only to realise it’s a slice of heaven. Well, dating is the same. You may think you’re not going to like someone based on your criteria to later discover they have qualities you never even knew you admired.

Don’t let your checklist preclude you from meeting someone you never knew you could like. Step outside the comfort of your checklist. Try something new.

The key takeout

Embrace all that dating has to offer and remember to stay open to the possibility of finding someone who doesn’t tick any of the boxes on your checklist, just like I did.

Do you have thoughts you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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