Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Notorious Checklist

Do you have one?

If so, are you willing to admit it?

And, what about your friends?

Do they?

How long is it?

You know what I'm talking about. The "checklist."

It is not uncommon to have one.

Some would view it as a "wishlist." What you wish you could find in a mate, in a perfect world.

But...since we surely don't live in a perfect world (what is perfect anyway?).... how effective is a checklist really?

I'm all for identifying what is important to us. And, as a writer, by nature, I often turn to pen and paper to record my thoughts, or the computer.

What is key about writing things down is that you have it to review over 'n over again. And, this can be a very helpful task during the dating process.

What exactly is it that you desire in a person?

Can you prioritize your list?

Are you willing to accept that it's quite the challenge....if not next to "have it all"?

Ultimately, it comes down to what you can live with, and being realistic, if you truly want to find a life partner.

When I host one of my workshops for singles, I've been known to advise that you should throw half your checklist out the window.

I'm not suggesting you settle, though it may sound that way. But, if your standards are unrealistic, you will be unhappy with most people you meet. No one will measure up fully. Examine what matters most to you at the end of the day and over the long run.

And, conversely, take a look at what you have to offer in return. Make a checklist of your own strengths and weaknesses. What kind of romantic partner would you make? Are there areas in your own life that could use improving? If so, is it fair to expect so much from someone else when you have personal work to do? (And who doesn't have work to do, on some level? It's part of wanting to grow as an individual.)

We are each works-in-progress, evolving every day, and what we want/need can change over time. With age and experience often comes greater clarity.

For this reason too, having a written checklist can be telling if you tuck it away in a place (like a journal) where you can find it a year later, for example. Pull it out, and see how much of it still holds true.

I urge you to be open-minded as you go about socializing. Sometimes a prospective love interest might not look "perfect" on paper, but there's something about them that clicks/resonates with you if you give them a chance. You may be surprised...and pleasantly so.

So...don't do yourself a disservice by sticking so firmly by your trusty checklist....and don't write it in indellible ink. A little flexibility and realism can go a long way in the quest for love.

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