At the time of writing this article, I’m single. Whenever I tell people I’m single, there are interesting assumptions. Some people ask, why are you single or we need to find you a girl. I always find it fascinating because most of the responses I get tend to suggest that being single is involuntary. It’s actually the opposite. While there are an abundance of females to potentially choose, I think my biggest challenge will be choosing quality partners. Much like finding friends, I think we often believe that quantity is more important than quality. We believe that just because we have options at our disposal, we have leverage. This isn’t necessarily the case. Go outside and talk to strangers all day and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people that you could loosely call friends. Sure, you can add them to your Instagram, Facebook, or maybe even MySpace page (if you’re old-school like that) and have them listed as a friend. But I think true friendship goes deeper than that.
There are certain qualities that separate a true friend that's loyal and actually has your interests in mind over an acquaintance or someone that simply knows you but doesn’t put forth an effort to involve themselves in your life. I’m sure most of us have only a handful of, if any, people that are truly loyal under most circumstances. I believe the same applies to relationships. Finding any partner is one thing. Finding a high-quality partner is it’s own challenge. While I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus in dating to focus on my career, I used to date a lot up until mid-2020. In 2020, prior to COVID-19, I had a single week in which I had 8 dates lined up. (This burned me out for a while). Interestingly enough something dawned on me around this time. On one particular date I went on, I found the girl to be very attractive. We hung out for a while and, at first, the conversation seemed great, but I began to notice something. Suddenly, like a car smashing into a brick wall, I realized a lot of my dates shared something in common that I often neglected or overlooked. Actually, I didn’t really even catch on fully to this stunning revelation until a few weeks later while watching Crazy, Stupid Love.
(And I must confess that I do enjoy the occasional Rom-com every once in a while).
This was my second time watching the movie and the first time around, it intrigued me that Ryan Gosling’s character would end up dating Emma Stone’s character. Don’t get me wrong, Emma Stone is very attractive and her character was awesome. But why would a guy with tons of money, confidence, and the ability to sleep with women basically whenever he wanted decide to stop all of that for one girl? What was it about her that would make him give up all of the options at his disposal?
(And I understand that it’s a movie and the plot calls for such an event to occur. However, I believe that a good movie often parallels real life enough in order for it to be relatively believable. I’m sure we’ve all seen or known of someone that interestingly chose a partner that didn’t quite seem to be his or her type).
The first time watching the movie, his change in character puzzled me. However, after watching it a second time (after going on many unfulfilling dates), I noticed something that made their relationship seem more clear. Emma Stone’s character actually asked Ryan Gosling’s character about himself. When I re-watched the movie and noticed that detail, it blew my mind.
(As a side note, I wanted to add a clip of the scene but I couldn’t find it anywhere on YouTube--apparently that particular scene wasn’t very interesting to anyone else. Go figure). As I write this, it sounds super simple and basic but I sat there and recalled a lot of my dates and I realized that on the overwhelming majority of them, I don’t think the date asked much, if anything, about me. Often, we’d talk only about her and things in her life. Beyond some minor interview questions everyone would ask on a date such as What do you do or Where did you go to school--basic, boring stuff, I don’t think I had an opportunity to really talk about myself. Granted, I don’t particularly like talking about myself without an opening to do so. However, having the opening to do so and having someone seem interested in you would certainly be refreshing. The main reason why I decided to write this article was mainly because in discussing previous dates with male friends, it seemed to be a common occurrence that they, too, also found themselves listening to the girl on the date talk about herself rather than the girl expressing active interest in them.
Over time, as I thought more about it, I believe that a high-quality partner is one that you’re attracted to physically, of course, but one that’s actually invested in you as an individual. Not necessarily the idea of you and how this idea relates to herself, but you overall (even if the two of you weren’t in a relationship). It’s difficult to describe but I tend to hear people find traits appealing in their partner that only relate back to them.
“I like the way he/she makes me feel”.
“I like how he makes me feel small”.
“I like how she looks at me”.
“I like how we look together in photos”.
These are fine traits to look for in a partner, but they don’t really say much about the partner as an individual. In a sense, it’s a bit of a solipsistic look at a relationship in which it all comes back to the perceiver.
Whether you’re a guy or a girl reading this, I’m curious to know your thoughts and experiences on this. Have you found that the opposite (or same sex) on a date invests little time in learning about you while on the date? In your experience, is it 50/50 or do you find yourself asking more/listening to them?