There are so many lists out there about the right qualities in a person you should date. But I think there are some being overlooked…
I love seeing some of the articles that get shared around by the people I know. In the past you would have to rely purely on sites like StumbleUpon and what the guys at the office were sending around to branch out and find some articles you wouldn’t usually get to read. Nowadays thanks to the power of social media, our friends can deliver good reads straight to us on a variety of topics from a variety of different perspectives.
One of the types of articles that gets shared around a lot are about all the different qualities in a person you should date. There are billions of them out there, and they come from all sorts of different people. Some say you should date the girl who’s travelled, others that you should look for a man who is stable and consistent, and others even being as brave to talk about how much they earn or their weekly habits. I’ve even written a few times myself about traits I think are admirable and sometimes underrated.
But sometimes when I look over the lists that exist out there, I can’t help but feel there are some very important qualities in a person you should date that don’t always get acknowledged or talked about in a lot of detail. I feel that a lot of these lists put out some really good ideas, but they are missing something entirely… human, in what they expect.
Here are 6 that I think get looked over too quickly, and maybe we don’t always keep in mind in our approaches to other people.
By the way, you might think some of these are a bit weird, but please stick with me and we’ll see where we end up at the end here.
One quality that I think we often overlook is inconsistency. After all, who is ever completely consistent all of the time? I would say the best of the best of us would be able to pull this off at least most of the time, but even the smallest change to our mind causes us by definition to be inconsistent. I mean, imagine if someone always said what they meant in every single instance. That’d be just… perfect.
Another quality we don’t always talk about is uncertainty. We usually go out there looking for someone who has it all together – all the ducks lined up in a row, all their prospects together, the 5 year plan, the meals for the week, the schedule all lined up. The stability such a person brings would be so welcomed. You know what you’re getting. They know exactly what having someone else in their life will be like. They know all the places they’ll take you, they will be your complete certainty in a world where you can feel so unsure yourself. Nothing like the person who has moments where they really just have no idea what they’re doing. Sure, they may have some general idea about their bigger picture and the types of things they enjoy doing. They may even have certain things they would like to achieve with their life. But when they’re really honest about where they’re at, sometimes they just don’t have complete certainty about what they’re doing.
#3: Emotional baggage
Emotional baggage is another one of those overlooked qualities. Could you imagine being with someone who had absolutely everything together? All their previous friendships and family and relationships with the opposite sex… all of them with complete closure, with no insecurities introduced or accentuated, and with no moments where they sometimes look back and remember some of those difficult moments?
We really like to overlook the area of baggage. We would prefer that it didn’t exist or that we didn’t have to deal with it, let alone have someone else in our lives who has to deal with it. But it’s there.
Oh man, fear is a big one. Fear of the future, fear of not being good enough, fear of what would happen if someone really got that close to you again, fear of being let down, fear of having to start again, fear of regretting this decision later… so many fears that factor in here. The person you date is bound to have some of that.
#5: Past hurt
Past hurt again is one that often gets overlooked. You know, those really deep and dark disappointments that left a person heartbroken and near destroyed. Those times in their life where they thought they might not actually make it through. The wounds inflicted by another person, or even by themselves, that have left them with battle scars and some of those relational issues we really don’t like facing. This one isn’t on a lot of the lists out there.
#6: Inability to open up
Finally, most lists out there don’t list an inability to open up. They all talk about how you should date someone who is always open, ready to share the finer details of their lives, completely equipped for dealing with the challenges and nuances of having to not just plan for one, but plan for two. To not just keep everything to themselves anymore, but to keep in mind that they now have a teammate who they can share things with and do life together with.
What’s my point?
I don’t know at which number you jumped down to the end to see what the heck I’m trying to say in all this, but I hope by now you’ve been able to see what I’m getting at here.
See, in all these lists of desirable attributes and perfect dating profiles that exist that I came across in the last few weeks as they were popping up in news feeds or being talked about in routine conversation, all I could start to think about was how much harder a lot of these lists on their own make our relationships.
I think what most of these lists ignore, or maybe even what we ignore as we read them, is our humanity.
The reality of life is that all of us have one or more of these traits in us. I would say that all of these traits exist in me to varying degrees. I know the lists out there tell us we need to be completely set up and be financially secure all the time and be completely sure of everything we want out of life, but the reality is that it just isn’t true. And while I firmly believe it’s important that we all strive to get our issues worked out, the truth is that none of us will ever be fully perfect.
And perhaps in our approaches to dating and relationships, we shouldn’t always be spending all our effort honing the perfect guy or the perfect girl in our minds based on our past experiences or on the advice of others – not that there’s anything inherently wrong with being honest and discovering exactly what it is you really want.
But I think the thing we miss is learning how to deal with the real people in our worlds who are just like us – sometimes broken, sometimes confused, and all the time on a journey forwards to our destination.
And I can’t help but think that if you and I just get better at dealing with the shortcomings we encounter in people – whether it be the uncertainty or the fear or the past hurt or any other flaw or challenge – we would be much better equipped for the long run.
In closing, I was reminded of a few conversations I’ve had with some of my friends over the years who at various times have said they haven’t felt ready. Not ready to take on the career they know they should, not ready to start that church or get involved in serving others, not ready to face the challenges in their family or friendship groups, or even not ready if a relationship comes knocking. But I think that none of us are ever going to feel 100% ready for anything that life throws at us. The best we can do is to prepare and to develop character and grace within ourselves to negotiate life as we head in the direction of our calling and vision.
And so, no, I’m not saying that we should go actively desiring basket case types of people who have no idea at all what they’re doing or who they are. My point is really just that I hope in our pursuits in life, we keep in mind that the people we come across are exactly that – people. They are going to let us down at some point. They won’t have it all together all the time. They won’t always be the strong romantic man or the supportive woman or the most stable spouse or friend or lover.
But maybe that’s what the beauty of love really is.
Love is giving permission for someone else to let you down. Love means their value won’t change in your sight. Love means you will continue to pursue and to work things through.
Love is an all consuming fire that many rivers cannot put out.
So let’s see where our journey takes us as we continue to see people as they really are.
Over to you – feel free to share your thoughts in the boxes below. How do you go about facing some of these things when you encounter them in your own life, or in someone else’s life?