Do I have too high standards?

Have your friends ever told you that you’re too picky? 

Mine have. 

Here’s my honest look at having reasonable standards versus being too picky. 

We all have standards in dating and attraction: that’s a good thing!

However, it’s possible to be too strict and end up losing out on opportunities to build something special. 

6 signs your standards are too high

What does having “high standards” mean, exactly? 

That all depends on who’s defining them, of course. 

Your high standards might look easygoing compared to somebody else who only dates vegan redheads with an IQ above 175. 

In contrast, your standards might look crazy to another guy or girl who will date anything that walks and has body parts they’re attracted to. 

So let’s take a look: 

1) Nobody’s ‘good enough’ for you

Having high standards can be defined accurately as having standards that are more selective than the majority of your peers. 

The types of men and women your friends and peers date and find attractive are consistently “not good enough” for you to go out with. 

If this is the case, then you have overly high standards

2) You’re focused on what you don’t want

You know your standards are too high when you won’t give the majority of people a chance and you have more things you’re not looking for than what you are looking for. 

Having standards that are too high is basically approaching love backwards. 

You spend a lot of emotional energy on what you don’t want, who’s not good enough, hot enough or interesting enough, and leave almost no space left over for who is potentially “good enough.”

3) You expect your best side to be seen 

Having too high standards means you don’t treat others with the consideration you give you; 

For example, ruling someone out after one date because it wasn’t extraordinary when they (by contrast) are willing to give it more of a chance and see what happens. 

You expect to be given the benefit of the doubt, but don’t give it to others.

4) You’re full of dealbreakers

At the root of many overly high standards are dealbreakers, or things that you won’t accept in a potential partner. 

Dealbreakers such as not wanting to date a convicted murderer or somebody who abuses drugs may seem reasonable, but the amount of dealbreakers often gets very intense with a picky person and starts to rule out all their romantic options. 

As dating coach Johann Davis writes

“Your deal-breakers could be the reason why you’re single, can’t get dates, or can’t get matches on Tinder.”

5) Your list of dealbreakers is excessive

Now, there may be a number of attributes and habits in a partner which you would prefer they not have, which is perfectly reasonable. 

However when you put dealbreakers where you would never even consider going on a date with somebody you end up potentially losing out on love and excluding people by judging them from the outside. 

Here are a list of dealbreakers that go too far, in my opinion: 

  • Never dating somebody who smokes 
  • Ruling out those with different spiritual or religious views
  • Refusing to go out with someone who is slightly overweight
  • Turning down a date with someone who is a bit skinny
  • Judging on body type in general and expecting a “supermodel” or “male model” look
  • Ruling out people with tattoos or piercings, or not wanting to date “squares” who don’t have tattoos or piercings
  • Deciding on potential mates based on style or the classiness of the clothes they wear
  • Refusing to consider people from a certain neighborhood, region or country as a date because of things you’ve heard about them or believe about them 

I know that in my case I’ve often had overly high standards around wanting somebody who shares a lot of my intellectual interests. 

I find I get bored easily

This is a valid complaint but has also caused me to overlook situations where there was more emotional or physical attraction that I wasn’t valuing sufficiently. 

Which brings me to the next point…

6) You expect it all right away

Love will always be something of a mystery.

But it tends to have three main layers: intellectual, emotional, and physical. Many couples fall in love on one of those levels and discover the others as their relationship progresses. 

You don’t always get the “whole package” all at once, nor do you always discover the extent of your physical or intellectual, or emotional connection right away

Having overly high standards is often a matter of expecting to fall madly in love all at once or find everything you’re looking for in one fell swoop. 

This rarely happens, and even when it does it can overwhelm us into reckless behavior and situations that lead to a lot of heartbreak and losing control. 

This is why it’s so key to guide yourself into: 

4 signs your standards are realistic

The antidote to having overly high standards is having realistic standards. 

Realistic standards mean leaving an open mind to love. 

1) You let life (and love) happen

The concept of “lowering” your standards doesn’t ring true to me. 

There’s no need to necessarily lower your standards. Just stop focusing on them quite so much and be open to what comes your way.

Let life and love happen instead of forcing it. 

If you connect strongly emotionally with someone or intellectually, let the physical develop. 

If you find yourself very physically and intellectually attracted to someone but don’t really have a strong emotional connection, have patience for that to develop. 

Having realistic standards is all about giving love time and space to grow and pursuing the spark you do feel to see what it turns into. 

2) You don’t idealize other people’s relationships

This has been and continues to be a huge challenge for me:

I idealize other people’s relationships. 

Not all of them, mind you, and not just based on shallow things like seeing social media posts. 

It’s more the emotional and romantic connection I observe between others that seems so special and deep. 

I notice that and then idealize it. This increases a feeling of not having “that” even when I meet someone and then giving up rapidly on most dating I do because of feeling a lack of interest. 

This is one of the most insidious traps of having overly high standards is that you start to idealize the relationships of others and believe your life has to fit some ideal of what you think real love is. 

“It might give you the warm and fuzzies to think about emulating another seemingly successful couple, but you have to fall in love with a person… not fall in love with a fantasy,” notes Jordan Gray

3) You have love goals for the future but you also stay present

Now I think it’s perfectly fair and even romantic to notice the happiness of couples around you and aspire to it.

I also think it’s perfectly fair to think of past times being in love and hope for that again. 

But you need to help yourself be open to the present moment and not let past memories and nostalgia or future fantasies cloud your ability to build a relationship in the here and now. 

This is really the key to addressing the problem with having too high standards. 

It’s not to “lower” them or to drop them, it’s just to leave them slightly more relaxed and take life and love a bit more as it comes instead of treating it like a menu in a restaurant. 

4) You don’t cling to the past

The idea of letting the idealized love go and being happy with who’s around you is explored in a hit song called “Love the One You’re With.”

As Stephen Stills sang in 1970:

“If you can’t be with the one you love, honey 

Love the one you’re with.”

I think this is kind of mostly free love bullshit that leads to heartbreak and unplanned pregnancies. 

But it does contain a big grain of truth.

The free love thing and giving up on someone you are in love with who’s far away is actually really cynical despite being disguised as homespun wisdom, honestly. 

But the embrace of the present moment and appreciating who is in your real life instead of who you wish was in your real life is a good point.

This brings me to the final point:

Finding the balance between high standards and realism

Finding the best balance between high standards and realism is all about knowing what you’re looking for without letting it blind you to who’s right in front of you. 

Love is always a bit of a mystery and it often hits people when they least expect it and think it’s far away.

For this reason, a humble attitude is the best approach. 

Maintain your standards and be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re attracted. 

But also; 

Stay open to the present moment and the people in your life who come up as someone to potentially date.

You can maintain your standards while still allowing them to relax a little, just the same way you can have future hopes without living in daydreams. 

You can be honest with yourself about whether you find someone attractive without over-analyzing it, or ruling someone out because they have some small things you don’t like or previously considered dealbreakers. 

Just think of it this way:

There are likely a few dealbreakers about you that could cause the future love of your life to rule you out if he or she doesn’t open up a little in their own standards…

Wouldn’t you rather they give you the benefit of the doubt?

And wouldn’t it be a good idea to then do the same for them? 

Stay open to love!

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