When you love someone (friend, family, significant other), you inherit the ability to look at their actions in the best possible light. So, in others you might find the habit of fidgeting annoying but your fidgety loved one gets a “pass” because you love them. If you don’t like someone, however, you can find a way to give even their kind acts a negative spin: the guy who’s always calling to check on you is “annoying”, while you might give your boyfriend grief if he doesn’t connect with you at least once in a 24-hour period. Ah, the double standard!
Annoyances aren’t deal breakers for me, so none of the following would prevent me from starting a relationship with someone if he possessed other stellar qualities (though I’d need to fall in love fast so that I could look at the annoyances with kinder eyes!). It’s been quiet on the love front for me, so maybe this isn’t the right time to share these but maybe Mr. Right-for-me is reading.
Dear Mr. Right-for-me, I’d be delighted if you lacked the following qualities.
Boring conversational skills
I loathe repetitive, mundane exchanges of pleasantries when you’re first getting to know someone (with loved ones I’m ok with it). What I’m talking about is the “Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine how are you?” “I’m fine; how’s work?” “Pretty good; how’s your work?”. Ugh. I’m comfortable talking on the phone—I have a nice enough speaking voice that’s very expressive and I kind of jump all over the place which means you’re never bored (but you could find it annoying—hah!). I like to make people laugh so I’ll often be silly. I know how to converse (my report cards when I was 12 years old said I talked too much in class(!), and nowadays colleagues often stop by my office to chat). So when I’m talking to a guy and he asks the same questions each day we talk, and when his reply to a question I ask is a one word answer with no follow up from him, I get bored and start to think he’s boring, which may not be true at all. Even if your life is pretty routine like mine, you don’t have to be a boring person.
I’ve noticed that in the getting-to-know-you stage, men seem to enjoy being asked questions (probably because they want to try and impress the asker with their responses), but they don’t realize that women like being asked questions too because we see it as a sign of genuine interest (the fact that he’s asking questions implies that his interest is piqued). Note: there’s a difference between asking a bunch of questions and asking questions in response to information that’s received (hint: the latter is a conversation; the former is an interview!).
A penchant for guilt trips
I’d love to travel with a significant other one day, but please, no guilt trips! I mentioned this years ago and it’s still a turn off. The best example is when a guy tells you that it’s been a while since you’ve talked, and suggests that it’s because you don’t care about them. I call this a guilt trip: if you called to talk, let’s talk, but please—we’re not family, I’m not your girlfriend, and I don’t believe that I should be doing the calling during the “getting to know you” stage of a relationship. If a guy whines about this, my stubbornness guarantees that even if I had planned to call him once in a while, I won’t. And I’d tell him that.
A need for tons of pictures before a relationship has been established
I understand that men are visual creatures but it’s off-putting for a grown man to be constantly asking for pictures when we’ve not even established that we’re in a relationship. Back in the olden days when I was online dating, I shared recent, clear, full-body pictures because I was insecure about my weight and didn’t want a guy to meet me in person and think “Oh my goodness, she’s larger than I thought she would be from her pictures.” In fact I would use unflattering pictures because I figured if they still wanted to meet me then they’d be pleasantly surprised in person. Those were in my insecure days; I thank God that I’m not like that anymore.
When a guy you’re just getting to know who has received several pictures of you continues to ask for pictures rather than engage in behaviour that will move you towards a relationship, it tells me that he may not be sure if he’s attracted to you, but is hoping for a picture that’ll sway him one way or another, or he may not be interested in a relationship, and may just want your picture for um, nefarious reasons.
That’s not too much to ask is it, Mr. Right-for-me? But turnabout is fair play so do let me know what turns you off in women.
What turns you off in a potential significant other?