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The Pickiness Factor

The Pickiness Factor

The greatest antidote to being picky is clarity.


Having been called picky one too many times by well-meaning relatives, or friends who don't know better, many single people feign open-mindedness as a defense against this most distasteful of labels. Being called picky is akin to being called conceited – a quality universally despised.

The result is that many people try to suppress their own needs in order to avoid being branded as picky. Then they end up feeling angry when everyone pushes them to carry on with someone with whom they can't imagine spending their life.

On the other hand, many people have a list a mile long of what they are looking for in a spouse. There is a certain haughtiness that often comes with these lists, as if the bearer of the list is entitled to only the very best. Our grandparents went looking for a "good enough" husband, a "good enough" wife, not someone so special that their friends would tear their hair out. And once married, they worked, they compromised -- life wasn't about ‘rights,' it was about ‘obligations.' That generation could more easily focus on their true mission -- working together to raise a wholesome family with good values.

Know what you truly need, stripped of all the Hollywood fantasies and misguided notions of what is important.

And what most people don't stop to recognize is that getting everything they want will never make them happy in the long run anyway. Only getting what you truly need has that potential -- and unfortunately, most people have no idea what they truly need to be happy.

Thus, the secret. Know what you truly need, stripped of all the Hollywood fantasies and misguided notions of what is important. Sounds easy? You'd be surprised how resistant people are to searching inside themselves for the very answers they are searching everywhere else to find.

It turns out that the answers to their search are right in their back yard after all. You see, the greatest antidote to being picky is clarity. And that just takes a few hours to gain. Imagine that...

In order to obtain this clarity, first you must understand the specific obstacles that might be standing in the way of finding your beshert. Then you can work on different strategies of how to overcome them.

There are many different obstacles that keep people from getting married. Below is a listing to get you started on the road to clarity. See if you can recognize what obstacles might be in your way.

1. Moving the Mountain – overcoming our own resistance to working on finding our spouse. People are under the mistaken impression that marriage just happens by itself. But it requires the effort of first discovering what we truly need, and then the work of getting out there to find it.

2. Chasing Fairytales - recognizing that we have all kinds of fantasies in our mind about what a potential spouse should be like and look like. These ‘pictures' may be so ingrained and so elaborate, that we don't even realize that we are measuring every potential person against an imaginary image of someone who doesn't (or couldn't) even exist.

3. Toxic Expectations - realizing that many of our expectations are not our own, but are a product of the influence of media on our subconscious desires. Before you hold out for something you are determined to get at all costs, sit down to examine whether getting it will truly make you happy in the long run anyway.

4. The Yenta Trap – many wonderful potential spouses are overlooked because we are so concerned about what other people will think of that person, that we dismiss them before we even attempt to get to know them. We ourselves might be willing to give them a chance, but we aren't willing to risk losing public approval.

5. Smorgasbord Syndrome – recognizing our own tendency to pick positive attributes from various different people we know or have dated, and creating a composite image of that person in our mind. We then compare our current date to this meaningless image, and everyone we date will of course never match up to that fantasy.

6. Misguided Pickiness - being picky about the wrong things -- such as unimportant attributes or traits. The only way to avoid this is to gain clarity.

7. Warped Mirror – failing to recognize our own failings so that we expect much more in a potential partner than we would demand even of ourselves. It takes work to look deep into our own heart to see how we could be a better spouse and what we have to offer a marriage partner.

8. Comfort Zone - being so attached to our lifestyle that we can't bear to give it up, even if it means losing the opportunity to grow and share our life with our soul mate.

9. Familiarity Factor – being so drawn to a certain personality type, irrespective of the fact that it possibly promulgates a warped, or even dysfunctional relationship that parallels our patterns from the past, which may not be healthy for us.

10. Prejudgment Pitfalls – recognizing that there is a natural tendency to jump to conclusions about a person, rather than to take the time to really get to know them. If we gave someone half a chance, over time, they may be just the person we have been looking for all along!

The main take-home message here is, the better you understand your own obstacles, the better equipped you'll be to get beyond them. Pickiness is nothing more than using the wrong criteria to choose your spouse. In the next article, we'll help you to determine what the right criteria should be.

February 3, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Anonymous, February 11, 2007 4:10 AM

As a psychologist, I'm often critical of 'this kind of article'...that is, an attempt to give psychological information to a broad range of people, unknown to the author[s].

This one, I thought, was very good: well done.

(5) Anonymous, February 7, 2007 11:32 AM

Why I had to be picky choosing my spouse

I do think that sometimes being picky is important. My parents wanted me to get married at 19, but didn't like my choice, and we broke up. Thereafter, the pressure on me to find someone was tremendous! But though I dated, and kept looking, what I discovered was that there were a lot of lemons out there. By the time I was 25, I decided maybe Hashem didn't want me to marry. But then one day, I had a long talk with him, and asked him to send me a husband. Not long after that, I met the man I married. That was 34 years, two children and eight grandchildren ago (8 so far!). My choices were not so great. My parents' choices were not so great. But Hashem's choice was perfect.

(4) Donna, February 6, 2007 9:11 PM


When you wed it should be for a LIFE TIME. I thought 30 yrs ago I was being picky. BUT not too picky enough. After 2 1/2 yrs after my late husband's death, I sit and wonder WHY I was not even more Picky. WHY love is so BLIND? Better to be PICKY than sorry and not HAPPY. I paid almost a LIFE sentence to craziness, lies, and decete, finding and learning of things I was not aware of being IN LOVE. Best to be friends FIRST, enjoy and check out the person. Give TIME a chance, follow not only your heart but what your SOUL tells you.

(3) Anonymous, February 6, 2007 4:11 PM

Loved your book!

I just wanted to tell you that I read your book and really loved it. Your book is different than most shidduch books because it has a lot of helpful information in it - sort of like a self-help book for shidduch dating! After reading your book, it really does make sense to me why there are a lot of older singles now and why me and my friends are having such a hard time dating. Not that we're 'old', but just that we're all ALWAYS so confused. Many people seem to have at least one of the problems you mentioned - if not a combination of them. I have been trying to use your book and I hope it will help me gain clarity so at least the dating process goes easier for me!

(2) Anonymous, February 6, 2007 3:02 PM

Caveat Emptor

The real person you are marrying will only come out after the Chuppah. While you are dating and are engaged, both parties will be on their best behavior. The day after I got married, I got a very nasty surprise--I learned that my spouse really didn't like him/herself very much, and was subject to temper tantrums. My spouse was very careful to hide this aspect of his/her personality while we were dating. Now I am trying to deal with this situation. Unforunately, it is very difficult to find these things out ahead of time. Let the buyer beware!

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