There have been a number of posts recently about the idea of "Standards" in dating... combined with the usual percentage of posts where a dater talks about a specific "problem" with their partner/wanna-be partner, and asks the community for a "fix" (Of the problem, ya know, not the other type of fix).
So, how do we get a handle on this standards thing? Don't we need some? After all... the person you are dating might just be CRAZY!
That's a word I see get thrown around a lot, with very little reliable connotation. What does it mean? Forget the DSM, we're talking about common usage and dating here. I have noticed one specific trend... exes are "crazy" a much higher percentage of the time than future dating prospects
. Hmm, given that most people who are dating, or in the market to date, are also the ex of someone, the math there seems a bit suspicious.
Just now, there is a post up on Lovelyish asking if a person, who is not from Britain, but who maintains a British accent, is "cray-cray." I had to put the quotes there, because I'm not 100% sure what that particular phrase means, but I'm going to assume it translates to "crazy." Now, when I think "Crazy," I think of a shiny Jack Nicholson, a clockworking Alex, maybe even twin blondes with a rich daddy. But affecting a particular accent? That's hardly the stuff to even bring up mention of... much less institutionalize a person for. Alright, I said forget the DSM, but let's be frank... the word, in common usage, is pretty meaningless.
In dating, these are some of my favorites... and I really can't make these up, I've heard people called crazy for all of the following
-- She wore Blue and Yellow TOGETHER! Crazy!
-- A MALE who owns a Yorkie? That's just crazy.
-- He like, will play computer games for six hours a day. Insane!
-- Did you know his MOTHER cuts his hair? Unbelievable.
-- I heard she went to every Harry Potter movie on opening night. Really? I mean... that's just wrong.Somebody, please stop the madness!
The point is, when it comes to picking our potential partners, our standards tend to go up. And I mean, way up. To the point where relatively minor things become deal-breaking, end-of-the-world catastrophes... sometimes before we've even held a conversation. A good friend of mine from college refused to date any woman who wore a cross, or any type of religious jewelry
. Now, he wasn't a Christian himself, and I understand religion is a complicated thing... but do we really want to write off every person with the wrong type of necklace before they've even spoken a word? What sort of precedent is that setting?
The way I see it, there are two good ways to reel in our standards to acceptable levels. The first is simply a rephrase of the good ol' "Golden Rule
---Don't judge others by a standard you would not have yourself be judged by.---
Seems pretty straightforward... if you think looks are really important in a partner, then I understand... if you are also a person who puts a lot of effort into looking good, and takes pride in being recognized as such. I have no problem with someone requiring a partner who has an advanced education... provided the person doing the requiring is also on the top side of the erudite scale. However, I will say that I think there are a lot of reasonable daters who follow this advice, and yet still have a problem with having some standards that are preventing them from getting to know people.
So here's the second part... and it is a little more complicated than the first, but stick with me...
---Look at all your opposite-sex friends (or same-sex, if that's what floats your boat). If you can count off reasons why each and every one of them is not "dateable" your standards are unreasonable.---
If your friends aren't people that you like, find interesting, and enjoy spending time with, then why are they your friends? Granted, there's a bit more to a serious relationship than that, but if you can check all three of those boxes in the initial stages of a relationship, let me tell you, you are onto something.
It is a bit staggering to me the number of people who "really wish their best friend would find somebody!" but of course they would not possibly consider dating that person themselves. That's a pretty vicious standard there... and a pretty mean one, at that. If you are too good for a person, then why are you friends with them? If you are not good enough for that person... why are they friends with you? If you can come up with a list of reasons why "it just wouldn't work," but still spend four nights a week hanging out with them... maybe you need to do some crossing off of that list.
Now, a quick addendum. I'm not advising people to date their friends. I'm condoning checking your standards by thinking about your friends, and the way you evaluate your relationships with them.
It is easy to pick up the bad standard in phrases like these...
"But she wears too much makeup!"
"Sorry, but I only date guys with convertibles."
"If it's not DD, it's not for me."
"I don't think he has a castle or a horse-drawn carriage..."
But a bit more difficult to find them here...
"But they celebrate Chanukah."
"I think I'd get annoyed with the constant saxophone practice."
"I'm not sure, but I don't think his dad likes me."
"His job just seems really important to him."
Either way, that's a potential relationship not happening, because of a standard that is unreasonable. HOW
unreasonable is a moot issue. There is no "degree" or "scale" here. If you choose not to move forward in a relationship, then it is done. You don't get to "not go forward just a little bit." If you judge a person by a standard, think of it as an all-or-nothing call, bottom of the ninth, two-strikes, and all-that. I think that sort of situation may at least deserve a frank conversation, don't you?
So, tell me... got any stories of funny standards you have heard? Have a reasonable standard you use, that you can share with others? I didn't particularly address this in my post (maybe you can!), but any advice for people whose standards are too low?