Am I Being Too Picky When Dating?

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So you’ve been single a while. You feel strong, confident and very much clear on what you want. But as time goes on and your dates continue to not quite “stack up”, you may begin to ask yourself, “Am I being picky when dating?” or “Am I being too picky when dating?” 

See it can be a tricky question – a battle between what you want and what you need and whether your expectations are realistic, or too extreme. So in this post, we’re going to break it all down to show the key signs you’re being too picky when dating – and, what to do about it!

NOTE: It’s good to be picky when dating in the sense that you know what you want, you have clear standards and you’re not going to settle, but being TOO picky just sabotages your chances of finding love and means that you’re missing out on some potentially, really great people!

Signs You’re Being Too Picky When Dating

So let’s jump straight in with the key signs you’re being too picky when dating.

1) You Can’t Put Your Finger On Why They’re Not Good Enough

“Good enough” – as if you are the QUEEN and no-one quite stacks up. (Ha!) It’s not like that, not at all. But we get the gist. You’re looking for something serious, the real deal.

The problem is, there can come a point where you start discounting people for, well, reasons you can’t even get clear on.

You’ll find yourself saying things like, “He’s just not my type” or “I’m not really feeling it.” And in some cases, you may not be. Your gut can tell you a lot.

Other times however, it actually comes down to you being too picky. You can’t even FIND any note-worthy flaws so you fob the guy off with a load of fluff!

The only way you will actually know for sure, is if you:

  • Write a list of non-negotiable qualities. These are the traits you know you’ll need to be happy.
  • Write a list of deal breakers. These are the things you know are important to you and that you don’t want in a partner.

If someone has all the qualities that matter the most to you without breaking any deal-breakers, they’re certainly worth giving a chance. (There’s nothing to lose right?!)

If you’re not sure whether or not they hold all of the qualities or are making fast judgements jumping to conclusions on the deal-breakers, then you can’t really say they’re not for you until you’ve gotten to know them better.

The problem is, if you’re being too picky you can often fall into the trap of bailing out until you actually get to that stage!

2) The Reasons You Give Just Seem Ridiculous

Another sign that you’re being too picky when dating is not just a LACK of reasons, but outright RIDICULOUS reasons! Like for example…

  • The guy sends you an unflattering selfie (oblivious of course, he probably likes it!)… and although you thought he was pretty dreamy up until this point, you see that and it puts you right off.

I mean, yes attraction is important. But you shouldn’t base attraction on pictures. You should base it on in-person and if the romantic chemistry is there.

You can also grow to find someone more attractive too, you know? So this is a silly thing to rule someone out on.

  • Or things start to get super comfortable between the two of you, he’s spending more time at yours, but his little habits (like nail picking or something) start annoying you.

I mean, you may not love it, but is it really worth losing it all for? Also, if you look on the positive side – isn’t it a good thing that he’s getting more comfortable with you? The relationship is simply progressing.

  • Or perhaps it’s something like his accent, something he can’t change at all, that just grates on you. Like – give the guy a break!

As we said above – know what’s really important to you, both in terms of what you want and what you do want.

But if you find that you’re discounting people for things that really, aren’t a big deal, then you couldn’t get a bigger sign that you’re being too picky!

3) You Let Small Things Put You Off

So it’s one thing noticing the stupid little things that you don’t love about a person, it’s another actually acting on that and using it to influence your decision!

If you’re constantly getting the ick, again, over things that seem pretty ridiculous, it’s definitely time to re-think.

The other side is cutting people off too fast because of their behaviour. So perhaps you have a “one strike, you’re out!” rule, which means any signs of the guy being less than perfect and he’s done for!

The thing is, noone is perfect, yourself included.

When dating, it’s so important that you’re yourself and you encourage the other person to be themselves too. This means however, that people will make mistakes (everyone does!)

So it’s not always just about what a person does or doesn’t do, especially if it’s a one-off. I

t’s how you communicate. It’s how they respond. It’s what happens from there. Sometimes it’s okay to cut them a bit of slack.

4) You Lose Interest Too Fast

So we’ve covered the things you don’t like, the fact that maybe they’ve done things that you see as “wrong”, but what about when you lose interest for no reason at all?

This is another key sign you’re being too picky!

Maybe you say things like, “The sparks gone!” or “I just don’t know anymore!” Well I know… girl, you may be being a bit unreasonable here!

Yes, sometimes that is true. Sometimes it does fizzle, it does fade. But sometimes it actually just settles… which is a good thing. The relationship moves into a new stage, a more comfortable stage – it shows that it’s progressing, evolving.

However – if that’s the point you then lose interest, it could be you putting yourself off.

This could be because you’re looking for a “fairytale” romance that doesn’t usually actually exist in real life. It could also be because you’re trying to protect yourself – pushing people away when they start to get close as you’re scared of feeling vulnerable.

You may also find you don’t even make it to that stage…

You’re just constantly just having first-dates, with very few second ones… First dates are “make or break” and it’s usually you deciding that they’re not worth a second one.

The thing is, if this keeps happening, there’s a good chance you keep calling it too soon. So before you give up or move on to the next person – just stop and think.

Get really clear on what exactly it is – and if you can’t find a good enough reason, consider giving them another shot! It’s not about forcing it, it’s just about allowing yourself to actually feel something.

Being Too Picky When Dating

5) You’re Fast To Make Judgements

Everyone makes judgements, forms opinions. You go on what you see and hear from that person and fill in the gaps. However, one of the signs that you’re being too picky when dating is if you:

  1. Make presumptions without actually asking or giving them a proper chance.
  2. Hear what you want to hear as opposed to what they are actually saying.
  3. Interpret things they say to make negative conclusions without fully knowing.

You may also have a set type: the kind of person you are naturally physically attracted to and the kind of personality that appeals to you.

You might find yourself instantly ruling people out who don’t fit into that set box. This closes you off to a lot of people.

It also makes you more narrow-minded and (let’s be fair) that’s not really you!

Attraction is vitally important. The person having your desirable qualities is too. But sometimes, you need to give people a little more of a chance to be able to see that.

If you go into a new conversation with someone, with preconceptions then yes – it will be easy to rule them out. But you may be ruling out some of the wrong people!

6) You Expect It To Be Instant

A recurring theme for the signs you’re being too picky when dating is this sort of all-or-nothing thinking and behaviour.

It’s not healthy, it’s not realistic and it could mean your expectations are too high… you expect someone to be perfect, faultless and it’s not even possible.

If you believe first impressions are everything, and you won’t give someone a second glance without the intense, instant connection you see in romantic movies and – well – fairytales – then you’re doomed to disappointment (sorry to be dramatic!)

Sometimes you will feel that instant spark and it’s exciting and amazing. But even then – it’s not everything. You need more than that. People connect in different ways.

If you also expect to meet someone, fall in love quickly, get married shortly after, start a family, life complete – then you also need a reality-check.

Because again – YES, sometimes that does happen for some people, but it’s not “the norm”, it’s not the only indicator that you’ve found “the one.” And in my opinion, it’s not the best way to do things anyway. It’s too rushed.

By thinking this way, you’re also putting too much pressure on both yourself and your dates. This sucks the fun out of it and gives it less chance to naturally progress and evolve into everything that it can be.

7) You Won’t Even Meet Someone Unless They Meet All Of Your Requirements

So there’s definitely a balancing act with this one. It’s good to have some sort of qualifying process when dating. It saves time; allows you to rule out a few people who you know – from the get go – just don’t do it for you. However, there has to be a line…

People aren’t tick-lists.

If you match with someone, they seem great in many ways, the conversation flows, maybe you’ve chat on the phone and that was fun and exciting too – but you find out something that you don’t like and decide they’re not right for you… then you’re shooting yourself in the foot essentially. 

Sometimes, it’s better to give people a chance. Love does crazy things. You could meet them and realise what you thought was important, perhaps is not with them. For instance –

Let’s say a deal breaker was them having kids – but they have the maturity to introduce them into your life in the right way, you also want your future to head in that direction so you think, okay, maybe it’s not ideal, it’s not how I imagined, but it could work with this person. It’s worth exploring things further with them.

Or perhaps you wanted someone who was career-focused and driven. First impressions may make them come across as more care-free. But in this instance (if a lot of good things are there aside from this) it’s worth asking yourself…

  • How important is this to me, and why?
  • Am I making premature judgements?
  • Do I actually KNOW for sure they don’t “tick” this box?
  • And is this actually what I most want and need? Could I have got the “requirements” wrong?

This leads me to my next point…

8) You Don’t Know The Difference Between Your Wants & Your Needs

This is a big one. And a big sign you’re being too picky when dating.

It all goes back to what we said at the start – knowing what’s important to you, knowing what’s “desirable” (but not essential), knowing what doesn’t really matter.

See you can craft this picture-perfect dream person – which is great. The clearer you are on what you want, the more likely you will be to attract it and find it.

However, you have to be able to differentiate between the big things and little things to know when to give people a chance.

There are the big things that should matter to you are based on what you know you need to be happy: a good sense of humor, a kind heart, family values, similar religious beliefs.

The little things that don’t really matter: a bad Netflix queue, a nerdy appreciation for Star Wars fan fiction, or the fact that they’d rather go hiking than take a beach vacation.

If you only consider dating people that have all the same interests as you do, or won’t date people who are fans of other sports teams, yes, you are much too picky.

If a certain trait in a partner won’t make you any less happy decades from now, it’s not worth ruling out now (and who knows, you might even realise you love hiking!)

Remember – contra-dating is on the rise, and with good reason, so don’t miss out on the dating trend that challenges EXACTLY THIS as it could be the key to finding love!

Being Too Picky When Dating

9) You’re Holding Onto a Fantasy

You believe in fairytales, happily ever afters, that someone is out there who will just completely sweep you off your feet… and they might be, to some degree!

But you also have to be realistic, to understand that real-life doesn’t work like that.

People can still make an impression, they can still treat you like a queen, take your breathe away in many ways. But there’s still going to be challenges.

Everyone faces challenges and every couple has some sort of challenge at some time in the relationship – multiple times in fact. It can’t be 100% perfect, 100% of the time and that’s okay!

You don’t need to run at the first sign of trouble and you can still have the love story you really want and deserve – you may just have to tweak how exactly that looks, that’s all.

10) It’s Been a Long Time Since You’ve Had Something Serious

Now this isn’t ALWAYS a sign you’re being too picky. It may just be that you’re going for the wrong guys – the “bad boys”, the guys who aren’t ready to settle down, the ones who only seem to end up messing you around.

It’s tough – and to be honest, it’s often not your fault. Unless you can recognise the signs, it’s easy to fall into.

You may also have been single a while out of choice – because you wanted to focus on yourself, enjoy single life as a stage in your life in its own right and maybe only now are you ready to open yourself up to it.

However, it could also be that you’re single a while because you’ve been pushing people away – not allowing things to progress, not giving people a proper chance… And this could very well be because you’re being too picky when dating.

So think about it. Think which rings most true to you. And then think about what you’re going to do about it.

What To Do If You’re Being Too Picky When Dating

Ask yourself why. Are you scared of getting hurt? Are you putting too much pressure on finding “the one”? Are you actually ready for a relationship, or have you just been kidding yourself that you are which is why you’re then finding reasons (i.e. excuses) to put you off even the best of guys?

Whatever it is, you have to first start by being really honest with yourself – getting really clear on why it is that you’re being the way that you’re being if you do start to notice the signs that you’re being too picky when dating.

You then want to get clear on what exactly you want. Reassess. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, what the end goal is, then you’re far less likely to get there.

Do you want to find the “perfect person” or do you really want to build the right relationship? Think about it. This leads me onto my next point…

Shift Your Perspective

You decide what happens from here. So if you know you ultimately want to find someone, and you’re ready for it now – decide which changes you’ll make to make it more likely to happen.

These may be changes in terms of how you act, how quickly you shut people off and how willing you are to give people a chance. You should also see a shift in the way you look at it.

Decide to be a bit more open-minded. Decide that you want to be. Be kinder, more open, more willing, more understanding.

Also think about what you could be missing out on by NOT allowing this shift. This is not to scare yourself but to make you think, “Hold up… am I being silly here? A little unreasonable?”

You Don’t Need To Compromise

Honestly – you don’t need to compromise here. You can still keep your standards and stick with the things that you know are important.

You just need to get a little clearer on what exactly is important – and why.

  • What kind of person are you most compatible with? And how do you know this?
  • What qualities or traits do you know they need to have? And why?
  • How about the qualities that are “desirable” but not essential?
  • What deal breakers do you have? And are these reasonable? Why is this so important to you?

Start asking yourself the questions that really matter. Narrow down that “wish-list” to get to a smaller but stronger guidelines.

And remember – some things you won’t find out about a person straight away. Sometimes you just have to open your heart, give the person a shot and find out a little further along.

Also think about whether you’re discounting people based on appearance. Because yes – attraction is key, chemistry is vitally important, but if you’re currently relying on online dating, you could be missing out on people who you WOULD actually really hit it off with if you’d only met them face to face.

So it is a bit of a balancing act. The good thing is, you’re now aware that perhaps you’re being too picky when dating, which means you can now recognise it, act on it and work to be a little more open-minded.

Just go for it… you never know, there may be some people out there who surprise you!

Don’t Take The Fun Out of Dating…

Dating doesn’t have to be complicated and stressful. This doesn’t have to be this huge, high-pressure decision.

And if you feel like you’re constantly checking back to that “dream guy” checklist, brush it aside to begin with. Relax. Let people in. Go with your heart initially.

If someone draws you in, see where it goes. If you enjoy your time with them, get to know them further. If you didn’t and think you’re better off as friends – that’s fine too.

And hey, if you’re being too picky when dating because you have issues to work through, things on your mind or just need to take a break because you’re burnt out with it all – take that time out that you need.

There’s no rush, no pressure. You just need to be open about it.

Best of luck! Look after yourself.


Signs You're Being Too Picky When Dating
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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