Are You Too Picky?


The author of It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet says “you’re too picky” is just one example of the ridiculous comments single women hear from their coupled friends.

Are You Too Picky?

“You’re too picky.” Every woman I know who’s been single for any period has heard it.You’re too picky,” can disguise itself as “You don’t give guys a chance!” Or, “You’re awfully critical of the men you date!” Or, “You really need to be more realistic!”

Realistic about what? What exactly are people trying to tell us? How are we supposed to take comments like this? “You’re too picky” might mean:

  • Apparently, you think you’re pretty special, but you’re no better than anyone else is. It’s time you considered lowering your standards.
  • You’re no spring chicken! At this point, you need to be grateful for whomever you can get!
  • Sure, I got to marry the love of my life. But that’s not gonna happen for you. Sorry ’bout your luck!
  • You must not see yourself clearly. You’re aiming way out of your league. The homely sorts we set you up with are more your pace.

And these are our friends who say such things to us?

Let me get this straight. When you’re 23, you’re allowed to be picky. In fact, you’re encouraged to select suitors carefully. Everyone tells you how smart, beautiful, and exceptional you are. You’re a catch! You should be discriminating! But, as the years go on and you enter your 30s, people begin to chastise your choice to remain choosy. In fact, you’ve become a bit bothersome with your whole “I just want to wait for the right one” attitude. It’s time to meet a guy, get married, and be done with it already!

How offensive and insulting to suggest that, because you’re older than 30 or whatever arbitrary number someone designates as a cut off, you need to be satisfied with whoever comes your way!

Psych 101: Why they do it

Honestly, I don’t understand why anyone would encourage a woman to be less selective when choosing the person with whom she plans to spend the rest of her life. It seems like a pretty rotten idea all the way around. But let’s assume most people have good intentions and are sincerely trying to help us. If that’s the case, what might motivate the “picky” comments?

In general, I imagine they come from people who operate from a vastly different position than us. For instance, some women connect well with a wide array of men; they don’t really have a “type.” They love ’em all — jocks, suits, artists, nerds, etc.

But perhaps you’re the exact opposite. You know what works for you and don’t want to waste time dating a homebody when your wanderlust will inevitably drive him nuts. Friends with a more equal-opportunity approach to dating might wonder why you pass up offers from decent guys. And because they’re a bit more flexible in their selection process, they perceive you as picky.

Others might claim you’re too picky because they’re fixated on marriage. Those in this camp believe a woman hasn’t “arrived” until she’s donned the title of wife. Unable to comprehend an existence sans husband, they care little about whomwe marry, just so long as we marry. To them, all guys are about the same anyway; just grab one and go with it. And perhaps they weren’t all that picky themselves, so what’s our problem?

Similarly, some women push marriage for the purpose of procreation. They must get married because they must be mommies. Reproduction is the ultimate goal and they intend to make it happen. No question. Therefore, when dating, this type of woman sizes up a guy primarily on his fathering potential.

This quality might prove even more important than the romantic chemistry she has with her partner or how well they click as a couple. How she feels about her boyfriend holds less weight than how eager he is to hold babies at her family reunion. Such women don’t understand you’re looking for more than just a baby daddy. They don’t get it. So to them, you’re just being too picky.

And by the way, that’s fine — for them. No judgment for marrying whatever man for whatever reason. If a good-enough guy who’ll provide a good-enough life is good enough, great! If he’s got good-enough genes to make good-enough babies — good-enough! But, if you want a husband who’s your best friend, best lover, and best partner, then by all means, be PICKY!

Finally, and this is a depressing one, but I suppose it’s conceivable that in some instances, people call you picky because down deep they feel they settled and they hate watching you hold out for the right one. I don’t like to think this way, but the possibility exists.

It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend our friends are right. What might happen if we single women stopped being so darn picky?

Well, if we go with the mindset that all guys are about the same and just take any old one, we’ll probably find ourselves in lackluster marriages. Aiming the bar so low will likely cause us to feel superior to our spouses, introducing a dynamic of inequity into the relationship. That’s always good for marriages, right? Best-case scenario, we pity our husbands. Worst-case scenario? We despise them and despise ourselves for settling.

If the kid factor wins out, we might embark upon a marriage of convenience. Since our marriage is all about the children, we might as well forget about romance and select someone who’ll be a good father and a good pal. And those children we so desperately desired? They get to witness a loveless union — what a wonderful example to set for them! Best case scenario? Years of quiet desperation and extra-marital affairs. (Again, great familial baggage to dump on our kids.) Worst-case scenario? Divorce and a nasty custody battle. But at least we’re mommies.

And by the way, how cruel is it to marry or even date a guy who thinks you’re madly in love with him, who thinks he’s the man of your dreams, when, actually, the only reason you’re with him is that you lowered your standards! Best-case scenario? He lives a lie for 50 years. Worst-case scenario? He eventually realizes you never truly had it for him and leaves you for someone who will honestly love him. Or maybe that is the best case scenario. . .

Shout Out!

So to my smart, sexy, cream-of-the-crop single friends I say this:  You’re not too picky. You are great women and you should be picky! There’s nothing more you should or could be doing and nothing you need to change. It just hasn’t happened yet.

Karin Anderson Ph.DKarin Anderson, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Psychology and Counselor Education at Concordia University Chicago. As she questioned her motivations for her own marriage, she pondered women’s roles and options. Now back “out there” in the dating scene, she became keenly aware of the messages directed toward single women — messages that appeared disparaging and illogical, yet hailed from reliable sources such as the local bookstore’s self-help section. Drawing on the data of other academic researchers and firsthand accounts of many women, Anderson wrote It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet as an effort to provide a logical counter-message of encouragement. 
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6 thoughts on “Are You Too Picky?

  1. I’m 44 and have been divorced for almost 7 years. And the man I divorced was the WRONG man for me by all means. We most likely should have just stayed a couple and not got married, but thinking back now, what if I hadn’t got married to him? Would anyone else have asked? So yeah, after being with the ex for 5 years, I AM going to be picky. Don’t want to get another one of him. Would I still be an “old maid” by now? I mean I have no proposals from anyone anymore. I feel totally washed up. The last relationship I had was 4 years ago to a guy 10 years my junior from Oklahoma (I’m in TX) and it was purely sexual. So I get mad at my mom & sister for always saying “you’re too picky Lori” why I don’t have a boyfriend. And I have 8 pets. 2 dogs and 4 cats and 1 red ear slider turtle. I’m a TOTAL animal person. How in the he** am I EVER going to find someone to put up with all my pets? My friends say “go volunteer at the humane society – what about the dog park?” Ok the dog park is filled w/mostly women, gay men, or men that are taken, and the humane society is mostly women volunteers or really old retired men. I don’t have the $$ to be on or Eharmony & I’ve been on there in the past but haven’t really met anyone, again, who’s got the same interests as me in the pet department. And anyways, I am really content being by myself right now. I’m not going to date anyone just to be with someone. I’m comfortable entertaining myself. I’m not going to settle. You think my mom & sister would be PROUD of me for sticking to my guns and not settling for just anyone. Frankly, I’m a little tired of hearing about it. It’s like I am weird for not wanting just anyone.

    1. I know EXACTLY how you feel and I am VERY PROUD of you sister!!! We are not here to make everyone happy and just because others want you to find a guy doesn’t mean you need to. There is nothing wrong with living your life and enjoying it without a man in it. You’re doing a great job and if it happens it happens and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. It sounds like you are a wonderful person that cares very much for animals and for people so go on enjoy your life and your friends and if Mr. Right does come along wonderful if he doesn’t then that’s okay also. Lori B Vancouver, WA USA

  2. Here are some comments my beautiful, wonderfully smart and desperately single friend has told me about different guys she has simply passed up. You tell me if you think she is being too picky:
    Why don’t you like Bob?”
    “He’s too short.”
    And what’s wrong with Gary?”
    “I didn’t like that he was drinking a beer in a can.”
    How about Tony?
    “I didn’t like his shoes.”
    Yes, there IS such a thing as being “too picky.”

  3. Also so many women give a bad rap to the so called “shy” men, or the quiet ones or so they seem to be “shy” or quiet. How the he** do you know. Women judge way to quick and just instantly peg him. For all you know he might be just enjoying his drink from a long day and pondering. It doesn’t necessarly mean if he doesn’t talk a whole lot right off the bat that he’s instantly “shy” or quiet. He likely might be a very outgoing talkative guy. There are plenty of guy’s that at first it takes them a bit to warm up and once they get warmed up they can sometimes talk your ass off.

  4. There’s a big difference in being too picky and she hasn’t met the right man yet. Being too picky is when women constantly always say no to every single man and won’t give any guy the light in day in he** a chance and the women that are overly picky and refuse to lower their standards to an acceptable level are the ones that think there is somehow this “perfect” guy and he’s just going to fall out of the sky and into her lap. Gawd forbid he’s 5’10, two inches below 6′ all while your 5’1 to 5’3″ and with your heels he’s still taller than you but you say no to ever single guy cause your so shallow about his height. Then it’s the he better have this perfect date and she expects every thing to be perfect as in (flawless convo, perfect date ideas) and oh yeah she expects to just show up and not bring anything to the date/table. Um yeah ladies like this have a better chance to start getting their 10 or 20 cats especially cause these women are so pissy, crusty and so pissed off at the world that the men that do go out with her are usually turned off cause she’s soooo bitter with the world. When women like this learn that the ONLY way they will met a guy for a relationship and to eventually get married is to lower her standards some, quit saying NO to every guy, instead of when that guy asks her out she should quit giving the heeve ho, the ughhh NO and actually go out with him and he might just might be a great guy. You will never know unless you actually say yes and actually let yourself go instead of being the pent up/stuck up bitc*.

  5. There is a difference between judging a woman for staying single because she hasn’t met the right man yet and giving legitimate advice to a woman who either does not think she needs to improve herself to catch her perfect Mr. Darcy or refuses downgrade her expectations to a more realistic version of a good mate.

    I know a woman who isn’t young, isn’t thin, isn’t pretty, but IS also openly critical and unkind to the men who date her. Still she insists on having a handsome, tall, educated man who never loses his temper, always attends church with her every Sunday, studies the Bible with her, watches chick flicks (but never action flicks), never touches her in a sexual way until marriage, and puts up with her weekly long conversations about why he needs to change some new aspect of his personality. Trust me. She’s too picky!

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