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A Step-by-Step Guide To Picking Your Best Mate

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A Step-by-Step Guide To Picking Your Best Mate

In my practice I work with many single people seeking a life partner. Based on research, my own experience and other methods, I developed a three month program to help individuals find a mate. Here are some of the secrets and steps I’ve used with success from that process.

Step 1. Know yourself

The first question I ask clients seeking a partner is, “who are you?” Then, I listen. People that have a confident and clear response to that question seem to do better when picking mates. When someone can tell me about themselves without hesitation and in detail, I can tell they know themselves well, which is a big part of choosing the right partner. The best answers are specific and unique to them as a person rather than general, such as mentioning qualities that apply to many people (i.e. I like to smile). If they look me in the eyes while describing themselves, even better. And the cherry on top is if they describe both positive and negative qualities, strengths and weaknesses. That shows they are ready to share life with another person without over-burdening them.

Step 2. Do you give what you seek?

We often dream of the kind of person that would come into our life and have all these great qualities. But would that person be happy with what we bring to relationship, and our personal qualities? We need to be mindful of what we offer as partners. This is important because if you manage to snag someone while hiding your negative traits, or if it’s not a good match because they give or offer more than you do, they won’t be happy with you in a few years and that’s not good for you. The best partnerships happen when both partners know exactly what they’re in for up front, and it’s a good deal for everyone. To make sure the relationship is balanced and fits, you need to show up and be the kind of person that gives what you want from someone else.

Step 3. Get rid of limiting beliefs

This is an important step. We all say we want relationship, but we often have hidden thoughts than get in the way. For example, my clients often have hidden beliefs that say, “there’s no good ones left in my age range;” “I’m not good enough for anyone;” “I’ll never meet the right person;” “dating is too hard,” etc. These beliefs limit our power of intention and the confidence that attracts others. What if you believe, “I am awesome;” “There are so many great people out there for me;” “Everyone would want to date me.” Then you carry yourself in manner that is attractive to others and finding relationship becomes more likely. The power of belief and intention is huge. Counseling can really help in this regard, because most of us need support removing limiting beliefs from our minds.

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Step 4. Are you ready?

Again, we all say we’re ready for relationship when we’re seeking a partner, but are we? A closer look is worth taking. Are you ready to wake up next to someone else every day? To plan your life together with someone else who has equal say? To share your space with someone who has different cleanliness habits? To worry about infidelity, attraction to others, and the natural draw to question our relationships? Are you ready to take care of someone if they get sick? To help support someone else if they lose their job? Relationship is a commitment that expands us and also requires some sacrifice. Are you ready to sacrifice some of your personal freedom?

Step 5. Don’t believe the hype

Society influences our idea of who a good partner is through movies, advertising, social messages, popularity, coolness, who our cultural heroes are, etc. Based on that we sometimes form an idea of the kind of person we want. “I want the guy with the striped shirt and the Sebago shoes that only cares a little about his appearance but looks great, is sensitive yet manly, knows how to take charge but also follow, will cry with me and protect me from dangerous people, likes to travel, has a touch of gray in his hair and knows the wine list.” These ideal images of people are not helpful when choosing a mate. What we really want to know is, who is right for me? Not who is right for mass media, for the silver screen, or for underwear advertisements. We make good choices when we allow ourselves to determine who would be a fit for us based on our qualities, not who fits the social ideal best.

Step 6. Make a list

The first list should be the 10 qualities that describe you best. Make sure to include a few negative traits among the positives. I am always interested in what people leave out. For example, some people don’t mention that they are highly intelligent even though it is obvious from all measures that they are. Some people don’t mention that they are highly anxious even though they’ve been struggling with anxiety for years. You should be able to describe yourself accurately. Modesty or lopsided descriptions are not helpful in this exercise.

Step 7. Make another list

The next list will be, based on your own qualities, what qualities will your partner have? Again, ditch the ideals. Imagine your day off. You wake up in your pajamas. What do you want to do? Who would want to do it with you? What would they be like? Are they introverted, extroverted? Do they like to eat in, dine out? Do they like the loud shows you go to, or do they prefer a quiet night of board games at home? How educated are they? How much money can they spend? Which do they prioritize more, family and relationships or their career? Write up the list of qualities that fit you in a partner. Then shave it down to only 10 qualities (I know, it’s hard). Separate the list into 3 parts: must haves, strong preferences and negotiables.

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Step 8. Advertise yourself

OK, here’s where the rubber meets the road. You’ve made these lists, you’ve thought about who you are, what you want, and if you’re ready to have a partner. Now it’s time to execute. Here’s where many of my clients start to waver. Everything is fine in theory, but actually making relationship happen? That’s scary! This is often the point where we discover a few more limiting beliefs or habits. For example, we may go to the bar to meet someone, but then act cool and aloof as if we don’t need anyone. A great test of how ready you are to help make relationship happen in your life is your willingness to advertise yourself. Are you ashamed to ask friends to headhunt for you?

Do you typically not mention that you are single and looking at social events or networking functions? If you are willing to advertise your singleness, then relationship is around the corner. I think a good litmus test is if you’re willing to hire one of those planes with a banner to fly your phone number over the city. If you are, that’s good. Now talk to everyone you meet. Remember the problem is not you, there’s someone for everyone. The problem is that person does not know who you are. Make it easy for them to find you.

Step 9. Identify organizations

Organizations such as clubs, charities and sports leagues, and institutions such as universities and museums filter their social circle around a certain demographic. Take a look at the list of qualities you are seeking in a partner. Now ask yourself, “What does this person do? Who do they hang out with? What hobbies do they have? Are they active socially? What organizations do they join? Do they go to the dog park on Saturday mornings or to the library on Sunday afternoons? Identify two or three organizations that match your partner demographic and get involved. If they don’t work out, replace those organizations with others. I guarantee that if you stay involved with two or three organizations at any one time that match your demographic, you will dramatically increase the odds of meeting someone who is a good fit.

Step 10. Now it’s a numbers game

I believe in soul mates. I also believe many people can be a soul mate. Dating is, on some level, a numbers game. You have to meet enough variety of people that match your criteria on a regular basis to be able to filter down to the ones that fit you the best. You don’t want to be caught only meeting one or two people and then thinking you have to settle because no one else has showed up. That’s trouble. Open the floodgates. You want everyone in your city that fits your demographic to know who you are and how to contact you. Don’t be shy. If you meet 10 people a week that meet your target qualities, that’s good. You can do that easily by attending just two events every weekend. Getting involved with organizations that pre-filter folks for you based on interest does not require much money either. You can volunteer for organizations and charities, or offer your skills pro-bono to help an institute and possibly waive the membership fees.

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Step 11. Stay connected to your cheerleaders and support

OK, I’m biased. I do this for a living. But I honestly believe that at this stage in the dating game, it’s the wrong time to let go of your support structure. Dating is hard. There are many thoughts and feelings to process, and many questions to be asked as we go through finding a mate. If you’ve been working with a therapist or life coach that has helped you, stick with it. If you have very supportive friends that keep you on the wagon, have coffee once a week with them and ask for their support to help keep you going. We can lose hope at this point because it takes a fair amount of focus, energy and work to keep the train moving. You need people around you helping you to marshal your energy and remind you of the upcoming payoff.

Step 12. Get good at saying no

If you’re following these steps correctly, you are now attracting alot of attention from potential partners. A very important part of choosing your best mate is quickly dispatching the ones that don’t fit well. Don’t be polite (OK be polite, but don’t dilly-dally). We have work to do, and time is of the essence. When you’re drawing in 10 or so people a week, you have to say no to more than half of them before the first date, and a few more after the first date. Practice your boundaries; get good at saying no. Don’t waste your time with so-so matches. Save your energy for better filtering and targeting.

Step 13. Be honest

No use going on dates if you’re not being yourself, because you’re just going to throw off your date’s radar, and your own. Try to be especially yourself on dates. That way you’ll know sooner if it’s a good match or not and so will your date. Reverse filtering is a great way to ensure a good match. Reverse filtering is being yourself so your date can make an assessment of whether its a good fit. For some reason in our culture we have this idea that we should try and impress while simultaneously deciding if we like the person we’re with. Too much work. Let them do some of it for you by you just being truly you and harnessing some of their radar power for your joint benefit.

Step 14. The elevator pitch

Honestly, if you’ve made it this far, you may already be dating several people or will be in a relationship very soon. Remember, everyone wants love, and there are a lot of single people in the world. This step is like the black belt of dating. Distill what it is you offer someone else to just a few primary qualities. You need to be able to answer the question confidently: “Why would anyone want you?”

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Develop your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short, refined expression of why someone should be in relationship with you and what they would be in for. For example, “I am really funny, but sometimes annoying. I watch long TV shows and get really into them and cry at the sad parts. In me you get someone with a positive, happy spirit, a bank account that somehow makes it month to month, and someone who will kick your butt at Warcraft. I am very loyal, and can be jealous. I get anxious in crowds, but I’m brilliant at a private romantic dinner.” You get the idea. It should be personal, unique, honest but compelling. You have to sell yourself, but accurately. What are your best selling points? Tell people up front, but also tell them the downside (i.e. I’m really good in bed, but I don’t clean up my clothes, like, ever).

Step 15. Ninja

We’re beyond black belt here. Ninja is when you have developed the confidence to approach people you don’t know, for example, at the library, or the grocery store. Why is this helpful? Because the visual centers (in your brain) and the unconscious information you pick up from people’s faces and bodies is a pretty decent part of your radar for finding a good match. So don’t neglect those opportunities where you see someone you really like. But how to approach them?

This takes practice, especially if you’re not smooth, like most of us. A good rule of thumb is to be laid back, considerate (not pushy!) and honest. Something like, “Hi! I saw you from across the table and you seem like a really interesting person, what are you reading?” Or, “Hi, this may sound a little weird, but I promised myself I would introduce myself to three new people today. My name’s Eddie and I like chocolate labs, how about you?” Just as we make quick visual assessments, so do people we introduce ourselves to. If you come across as genuine and humble, it gives others’ space to pay attention to their own radar and perhaps notice that they like you as well. Practice makes perfect.

Step 16. Conversion

If you’re in sales, you know conversion is the point at which a prospective customer becomes a buyer. Now that you are an expert at creating relationship opportunities in your life, you need to be an expert at relationship in order to take a few successful dates and turn them into a loving, life-long partnership (if that’s what you want). Don’t ditch your support network just yet! Getting into relationship is a critical time. Often in the first 6 months is when both partners feel they need to make a decision on whether this is the right person for them. This phase of dating takes us into another area of skill, that of being in relationship. This ‘conversion’ phase is a necessary part of taking your dating mojo and turning it all into your original goal for all this work.

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It was worth it

Choosing well is half the battle in relationship. The other half is developing critical skills to make it work. Knowing yourself is a key part of choosing the right fit for you, and being yourself helps ensure whoever picks you does it for the right reasons. With these steps, from the theoretical to the practical, you have a solid map for how to make relationship happen in your life and find the right partner. Working with a professional, whether that’s with a counselor/therapist or coach can make a really big difference in helping you work through these steps to be successful. As social beings we are wired for relationship, so it’s all worth it in the end. Go out and make it happen, and enjoy!

Featured photo credit: 123RF via 123rf.com

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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