Why Is Being Picky A Bad Thing?

unsure young woman scratching her head


Name: Charlotte
Question: I’m at the point with dating where I just don’t know what I’m doing anymore and I’m not having fun. I’ve also been told that I don’t give guys enough chances or that I’m too picky. If only people knew how not picky I’ve been. Because of this,  I’m constantly seconds guessing my judgment and trying to be too nice since my way has not worked.

Enter Alvin.

Our first date he canceled at the last minute and was a bit flippant about it. I wrote him off but eventually responded to his texts and apologies.  I kept it short and let him know that while I accepted his apology I didn’t want to see him because I thought it was incredibly rude and he had ample time to change plans. Eventually I agreed to a low key first date after texting back and forth. We had a decent time and I thought it was worth a second date.  This one goes great and I like him enough to try a third.

So we are trying to make plans and I say when I am free and he wants to meetup before then and wants me to cancel my pre existing plans. He says it jokingly so I reply jokingly. He eventually replies that it’s not a huge thing for me to cancel my plans.  (It’s a fitness class but it’s also something I enjoy and I’m friends with the other members so it’s a bright spot in my day). This feels a bit entitled to me and a bit controlling. My instincts are going off but I’ve had bad luck with guys so I’m trying to not be my typical anxious and defensive self.

After this interaction I have a bad taste about him. There are other things that make me raise an eyebrow but this one really annoyed me.

Am I being unreasonable?
Age: 27

I kept it short and let him know that while I accepted his apology I didn’t want to see him because I thought it was incredibly rude and he had ample time to change plans.

Okay. I’m noticing a trend in the last couple letters. The women pretend to put their foot down about something, eventually cave, then can’t figure out why the guy continues to act like a cock waddle. Here’s why: because you reward their cock waddle behavior. If you know you don’t have the resolve to stick to your guns, do not issue ultimatums. The minute you go back on your word you lose all your leverage.

Do yourselves a favor: don’t take a stand and demand better treatment if you’re just going to weaken and give in. Just don’t do it. Once you do that, the guy knows he can take advantage of you and jog up and down your face wearing cleats.

This feels a bit entitled to me and a bit controlling.

It feels entitled and controlling BECAUSE IT IS. Holy Mother of Baby Jesus in a Prius. It is controlling. It is entitled. He’s a douche.  This is not an example of you being too picky. This is an example of you not being picky enough.

No, you are not being unreasonable. People who cancel dates at the last minute are rude. Full stop. Do not pass go, people. I don’t care what their reason is, if they cancel last minute, they’re automatically sent to the reject bin. They’re only removed from the discard pile if they make a concerted effort to schedule other plans. But even then they’re on my shit list.

You’re not being too picky when you decide you will not allow someone to treat you poorly. That’s a standard you should uphold at all times. Having standards is not the same thing and being too picky. Wanting a guy to have a job is not being too picky. Wanting a guy to live on his own is not being too picky. Wanting a guy to be over his ex is not being too picky. Wanting to be physically attracted to a man is not being too picky. When what you demand and require is unrealistic or unattainable, that’s when you’re being too picky. If you know you’d never been able to pull a certain type of person, then holding out for that type of person is probably unwise. That’s when you’re being picky.

I sent a friend a screen shot of one of my OKCupid matches yesterday and he said, “I don’t see what’s wrong with that guy.” The guy in the photo was kind of chubby with a hang dog look on his face. For  a moment, I felt guilty. Then I said, “Nope. Fuck that. I want to be with a guy that makes me want to rip his clothes off.” Delete. Block.  Maybe this is just the Welbutrin talking, but if i don’t look at a picture and…feel things…it’s a no go. Am I being too picky? I don’t know. But i don’t care. I want what I want. And I don’t want some Long Island schlub in a muscle shirt. So sue me.

I had this whole thing written about the difference between being too picky and having standards and I deleted it. Truth? I don’t know the difference anymore. I have so many people telling me that being so specific about what I seek works against me. That I’m maybe overlooking some really good guys because they don’t seem tough enough, that maybe I need someone who balances me out, etc. Maybe. But there’s this voice I have in my head that says, “No. They are not you. You know what works for you. Keep looking. He’s out there.” I’m not sure I can distinguish between too picky  or not anymore.




Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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36 Responses to “Why Is Being Picky A Bad Thing?”

  1. bbdawg Says:

    It’s one thing to have unreasonable demands and another to basically only date people that show basic respect and consideration, the way you do towards your friends and vice-versa. That should be the bottom line. That’s non-negotiable.

    It’s kind of amazing that so many women seem to be scared to just say what’s on their minds. Like “hmm I am not going to cancel my class to meet some stranger from the internet who has already canceled on me once. That’s not the type of expectation or behavior I am willing to tolerate from someone I might be considering dating. I wish you well. bye”. Then block, don’t respond.

    There is something I have noticed in so many of the letters recently: male attention is not something to be “celebrated” unless it’s the *right* kind of attention.

    The *right* kind of attention is nothing more than being treated like a normal human being, not a “option” or an object. If a man treats you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, SPELL IT OUT. And move on. As a 27-year old you have a lot of options so make sure you exercise them and spell out what you’re looking for. There is nothing wrong with that! That way you will keep the bottom-feeders away.

    It seems that there are a lot of people online who are looking to test boundaries to see what they can get away with before you even meet them. The way to work around it is to not meet them. They have nothing to offer.

    • Eliza Says:

      ok–bbdawg–glad to have read your reply–now tell me this–does being picky or wanting these very things: i.e., employed individual, living on their own (no couch surfing!), full teeth, meets our definition of “attraction”, hence, mutual chemistry, doesn’t cancel at the last minute – to juggle other women/priorities!…should this level of expectation dwindle significant if we are in our mid to late 40’s and no longer 20 something…since OUR options have also dwindled? I personally do NOT believe so. Will that meet I remain single – sure it does–but at least I won’t have sold out. I recently met someone that claimed to be single, yet they were actually “separated”…therefore, still married…with no divorce date pending anytime soon…due to financial reasons on their end. So–that’s all I had to hear to lost interest…that, plus questionable behavior derived from lack of good judgment in his dating choices. And conversation with said person was nothing but a cliché, and a complaint session from him…all about his “horror stories”. No–I am not a part-time therapist to strangers. It’s simple…by 30, 40 and definitely 50 yrs old…get your life together. Get it together. Don’t need all this baggage and drama in my serene life. And if that’s being picky–so be it–I’m picky.
      Honestly, don’t know why women today walk on eggshells doubting themselves, and unable to stand their ground and ask for what they want…when all they ask for is the basics: keep your word, respect my time and keep plans, and grow up and act like an adult.

      • bbdawg Says:

        The reality is that women have been sort of schooled to be “flexible” with men and to not be “pushy” towards relationships and that has led to…nowhere.

        I mean I almost feel like the only forward is to be explicit about what you’re willing to tolerate and what you’re looking for. That way you’ll scare away the jugglers, the perma-bachelors, the casual seekers, the “separated” men, etc…these guys literally have NOTHING to offer so there is no point in compromising.

  2. Judi Says:

    Love your comment to her! I wonder about being too picky myself sometimes. Thank you for endorsing that wanting physical attraction, someone with a job and who is over their ex is not being too picky. You are right they are out there and WE WILL find them or vice versa.

  3. KK Says:

    I think that wanting to rip the clothes off a potential lovah (lots of SATC-watching, sorry) is a minimum requirement. That being said, i fail to see how one can determine attraction from a mere picture. I get it if you know someone could never be your physical type. But most of the time, i feel like a guy’s voice and the way he moves has as much and st times more to do with whether i feel attractrd or not.

    I feel like standards are important. But it is complicated. Because it might that your standards make it hard to meet someone. And if you are ol with it, that is what matters.

    And a guy asking you to change plans for him? No.

    • Maurlina Says:

      I agree, in my longest relationship of 3 years I was super attracted to my guy but there is no way I would have swiped right on tinder for him because he was not my physical type. But our in person chemistry was fire.

    • Linda Says:

      So agree with KK. I’ve met a guy from work who is not my physical type, but after getting to know him, I became really physically attracted to him. And yes, it was his shy demeanor, deep voice, straightforward personality. If I didn’t know this guy and if I were just to judge him based on his photo, I would have completely dismissed him on online dating sites. That’s what I find difficult with online dating, you can’t feel out the chemistry and vibe, so it’s hard to decide who to go for and who to ignore.

    • Goldie Says:

      Add me to the club. I’ve met, and dated, a few chubby (or super-skinny) guys with hangdog looks that I very much wanted to do dirty things to. But only after getting to know them in person. You are all correct, it is extremely hard to know the whole person just by their photo.

    • Eliza Says:

      KK–just say no. And I actually never tell a mere date–what my other plans are. All they need to know is: “Hey, I have a commitment I can’t get out of”. We will have to re-schedule, just let me know what dates you are”. End of story. I do NOT reschedule my plans for someone I do not have a relationship with. Besides, I don’t like cancelling on friends and/or family either…it’s not who I am by nature. A decent person actually finds that to be a redeeming quality. A selfish person just cares about themselves, and will expect or ask you to re-schedule…As if to say, “I’m more important”. No doesn’t work that way. Don’t cave in…be true to yourself.

    • PGH_Gal Says:

      Some people simply don’t photograph well. It’s one thing if you can see that the dude is 50 lbs overweight and you know that doesn’t attract you. But if I find their face just tipping the scale from average to cute, I’ll at least meet in person. I’ve been pleasantly surprised on more than one occasion.

      • Eliza Says:

        I agree with PGH – and in some instances…they came across better looking in their profile photos–and upon meeting them, I was disappointed…and no, they didn’t post older photos…they just photograph much better. The photos had a time/date stamp!

  4. Mandy Says:

    I view standards as a list of general ideas, and being too picky as a list of black-and-white statements. For example, standards is wanting a guy you’re physically attracted to, who doesn’t stand you up/cancel last minute without an emergency, to be financially stable, and to be ambitious in a career he loves. Picky is wanting a guy who’s clothes you want to rip off upon seeing a photo, who jumps through an arbitrary set of hoops to “chase” you and “prove himself” to you for no reason, to make at least a certain amount of money, and to have an ivy league degree and an MBA. These 2 lists get at the same qualities, but in a different way.

    Moxie, in you last paragraph you said: “That I’m maybe overlooking some really good guys because they don’t seem tough enough, that maybe I need someone who balances me out, etc. Maybe. But there’s this voice I have in my head that says, “No. They are not you. You know what works for you. Keep looking. He’s out there.” “. But I question, how do you really know what works for you? From these statements, I get the sense that you haven’t considered that what you WANT in a man may not be what you NEED in a man in order to make you happy. You seem very set on some preconceived notions of what it would take for a man to make you happy instead of actually seeing what it takes for a man to make you happy. (Oh, and I mean “happier” not happy. Of course a man should not be the only thing that makes you happy!).

    • fuzzilla Says:

      **Picky is wanting a guy who’s clothes you want to rip off upon seeing a photo,**

      I suppose someone who has you salivating just from a picture is no doubt in the ol’ “handful of people that everyone is chasing” category, so you’re kind of setting yourself up for disappointment if that’s something you insist on. A picture that makes you think, “Nice smile,” “cute face,” or “seems fun/together (based on what’s going on in the photo)” doesn’t seem unreasonable.

      Maybe it makes more sense to say, “Based on his/her picture, I can’t *ever* see myself wanting to rip his/her clothes off…”

    • TwoCents Says:

      **I get the sense that you haven’t considered that what you WANT in a man may not be what you NEED in a man in order to make you happy. You seem very set on some preconceived notions of what it would take for a man to make you happy instead of actually seeing what it takes for a man to make you happy.**

      All of this. ALL OF IT. Especially if you’ve been repeating patterns or not having any luck, you (royal you) need to reconsider what you’re doing. I was all about the stoic, driven, ultimately emotionally unavailable dude, because I liked the intensity, blah blah blah. I missed out on a lot of sensitive dudes who I thought were wishy-washy while chasing those “strong” guys. When I finally woke up and realized I wasn’t getting ANY of my needs met by the driven ones (and to be fair, they’d told me by their behavior what they could offer, I just didn’t believe them), it made it easier to give the less aggressive guys a chance. Sometimes what you really think is best for you is the exact opposite, because you’ve never given yourself a chance to experience anything else.

      • KK Says:

        I absolutely agree about changing what’s not working for you. I think it’s a few things actually – if the type of guy you want doesn’t want you, then either change the type of guy you want or change yourself. If what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, then it’s probably more realistic to change what you’re doing. And if going after the type of guys you want has either not given you those guys or you’ve been miserable, then, again, go after different guys.

    • PGH_Gal Says:

      I actually just had this discussion on a date. He asked if I thought he was my type and I said this:
      “Honestly? I don’t know. Clearly I haven’t found “the one” yet. At this point I know there are certain things that don’t work for me. But when it comes to other traits, I’m relatively open-minded”

      So yeah, if dude is a conservative or definitely wants to have kids or shows signs that he believes in any type of discriminatory “ism” or has emotional/mental issues he’s not addressing…not gonna work. But that leaves a LOT of options that could be just what I need. Yes there has to be an attraction there, but I think you just don’t know until you KNOW.

  5. Glazer Says:

    I cautioned Moxie awhile back about her libido maxing out on Wellbutrin. Please don’t break the hearts of men on your newly invigorated dating odyssey, or get an STD :(

    I always thought women were more interested in character rather then looks?

    How do you know that dude with the hang dog look doesn’t have a heart of gold, or make 6 figures?

    If women were less fussy, there’d be more love going around.


    • Missy Says:

      Sounds like you always thought women cared more about character than looks and you think they SHOULD care more about character than looks.

      When, really, everyone should care more about character than works.
      And it’s hard to imagine anyone telling a man he should give the chubby hangdog woman a chance.

    • Goldie Says:

      How did 6 figures become a part of character, right up there with the heart of gold?

  6. Glazer Says:

    People over thing this stuff.

    Analysis Paralysis.

    The chemistry is there or it ain’t.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      So if a woman has preferences she’s “fussy,” but if a man does, it’s, “welp, no chemistry, what can you do?”

    • Eliza Says:

      Glazer…duh, which is why “attraction” is a requirement, for both genders. Without that, there’s very little to go on, especially initially. Character/humor/personality and other traits do matter…but both parties need to experience mutual physical attraction…and yes, that idea in itself is quite shallow. But that’s not analysis paralysis…that’s human nature.

  7. Goldie Says:

    I don’t care what else this guy did or didn’t do, this alone should disqualify him: “He eventually replies that it’s not a huge thing for me to cancel my plans.” Nope. No random dude gets to say what is and isn’t a huge thing for you, OP. Matter of fact, no boyfriend or husband gets to tell you that it’s not a huge thing for you to cancel your plans. The hugeness of the thing is for you to decide. You were right to sense that it’s a massive red flag.

    Sorry, I read this part a few hours ago and I’m still fuming. I’m having flashbacks to all the worst moments of my marriage and LTRs. Nope nope nope.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      *Maybe* he said it in a joking fashion..? But unless a guy has the charm of Gene Kelly AND can promptly drop the issue and accept her answer without pouting, it’s best to steer clear of joking that can be mistaken for controlling.

  8. Parenting Says:

    “Too picky” is what you’re grandmother calls you when you are still single and pushing 30. I’ve yet to hear anyone call themselves “too picky”. Everyone has a different combination of likes and thresholds of settlement. Just my two cents.

  9. Jake Says:

    If he attempted to reschedule and apologized then you should give him another shot. I also bet that the guy in OPs letter paid for the dates. If you like a guy and are looking for a relationship and that’s one of your priorities, then yes you should reschedule the fitness class or whatever you have going on. This guys mistake was in verbalizing that it wouldn’t be a big deal for her to cancel her plans. On that basis alone, she should move on.

    On another note, I keep reading all these I can’t believe he did that or he’s isn’t worshipping me enough posts and comments. The fact of the matter is that sometimes you have to give someone another chance or enough rope to hang themselves. Otherwise, for you indignant ladies, have fun being alone and bitter.

    • Goldie Says:

      You know how much better it is to be single than to be coupled up with a controlling SO who tells you what to schedule, what to cancel, what to eat, what to wear, how to raise the kids? You’re right, it really is more fun. Besides, this guy isn’t the last single man on Earth. There are tons of other available men out there, that are not being controlling d-bags to a new person five minutes into dating them. She’s 27, she has all the options in the world. And even if she didn’t, no options are better than this.

      It’s like Moxie said. There’s being picky, and there’s having standards. Staying one extra minute with a controlling partner or date is about standards.

      Also WTH does it matter who paid? Do you mean he gets to determine her schedule now because he paid for the dates (if he even did – which is frankly irrelevant)? How so? Does he own her now, for the low low price of a glass of wine and an app or whatever it was he paid for?

    • bbdawg Says:

      Nice try Jake! I bet you’d love to have a woman cancel on you multiple times? A former boss used to say “when someone shows you who they are, believe them!”. She was speaking of office politics but that is very applicable to dating:)

  10. Jake Says:

    Women are notorious for canceling. The ones that cancel actually do you a favor and save you money. Im all for that as I like to spend the bare minimum on women. My point is I don’t think anyone should get worked up or indignant about a cancellation. If they follow up and apologize for it, they should be considered for a second chance. Cancellations occur in many facets of life. For example, are you going to get pissed off and never talk to a girl friend bc she cancels a yoga session because her dog looked at her funny? No, you would wait for her to reschedule. It could be that she met a guy she likes.

    • sandra Says:

      I believe most agreed it was his suggestion , or insistence, that she cancel her pre-arranged fitness class to make time for him at his convenience that is the problem. Aside from it being a ridiculous request merely for a second date, maybe she pre-paid for the class. And I am sure her fit body is part of what attracted him to her anyway.

    • bbdawg Says:

      Also, I believe your goals might be different from the OP’s. If people continuously cancel on you it’s likely you’re aiming outside of your league, but it doesn’t bother you as much because you might see the short-term outcome as positive (i.e. sleeping with one of these women).

      In the case of the OP if she is looking for a relationship, she needs to really watch for consistency and consideration – what she described are very strong indicators that the man she is dealing with is not really looking for a “girlfriend”, he’s on the lookout for the “hottest” options available one given evening and he will cancel as soon as another option pops up.

      The likelihood that someone who treats you like an “option” will change and suddenly treat you as a person is zero. That’s dating 101. If a woman is looking for a boyfriend, she has to discard time-wasters very quickly because it’s a numerical truth that she will find him just as long as she gets goes through those who aren’t.

    • Eliza Says:

      Here we go again – Jake the “Generalizer” – that’s your name from hereon! lol…and it’s all about the “money the poor schmuck spent”–bwahhhhhh! Pop goes the little girl’s balloon. Stop whining – about the $20. geez.

  11. hannah Says:

    For the most part, I think Moxie gives pretty good, straightforward advice, but I really think there is something to getting to know someone, especially because a picture, or a group of pictures may not give you a good indication to gauge attraction. We’re all works in progress, someone “schlubby” may not be that way forever, maybe there’s a reason behind it. You might exert a positive influence on their exercise/dietary behaviors, and maybe they will have something to offer you in return?

    This isn’t to say that you have to date everyone, but making the space to get to know someone beyond a handful of photos may prove a more meaningful and satisfying way to connect.

  12. Noquay Says:

    Moxie said it best; “know what works for you”. There’s no point in wasting one’s time with someone who isn’t a person who will work for you. This, of course, means knowing yourself and a certain amount of trial and error. Another issue about being”picky” is that many, many women will take whomever will have them so they don’t have to be alone. Many students take a”gap year”, where they travel, work and save, generally grow up. Wish we could have a mandatory”alone year”, where younger folk learn to be with themselves, away from social media, learn to do their own chores, fix their own stuff, face difficulty on their own.
    Tinder type apps, most on line sites, are based solely on pictures and their attractiveness. Some things are revealed in pictures, some not. OP, you’re 27, the world is your oyster, throw away the apps, meet folk IRL. Go to those types of events you enjoy rather, thst reflect who you are than the crap bar scene; volunteer for stuff: art fests, music fesys, running races; you’ll stand a much greater likelihood of meeting folk that work for you.

  13. Brad Says:

    “No, you are not being unreasonable. People who cancel dates at the last minute are rude. Full stop. Do not pass go, people. I don’t care what their reason is, if they cancel last minute, they’re automatically sent to the reject bin. They’re only removed from the discard pile if they make a concerted effort to schedule other plans. But even then they’re on my shit list.”

    Truth. I’m not sure when tolerating this behavior became the norm but it’s shocking how many people put up with this these days. It’s a whole crate of red flags packaged together.

  14. CharlotteTheOP Says:

    Hi All,

    This is the OP. I just read the comments today since I have been out of country for a few weeks but I really appreciate the responses. I felt like I was crazy and being unreasonable and it was not the first time I had an issue with a guy trying to make me accommodate him and my friends telling me I just don’t like him enough. The attraction had always been there before the guys tried to pressure me to change my life when we barely knew each other;and that is what really turned me off. I tend to be flexible in general and easy going and I see that I need to set better standards when it comes to dating. So thanks for that!

    As for Alvin:

    I didn’t cancel my plans for him and we decided to meet up on a Friday evening. That Friday I worked from home and he was off and he kept trying to come over even when I turned him down b/c I was working. He kept trying and I said no lets keep our date tonight. I was very annoyed but I didn’t want to cancel last minute. Tonight came and he wanted to reschedule b/c of bad weather. I said ok and then I never messaged him again. A month later and he is still texting me trying to see me again and asking me to please reply and calling me even though I never respond. I really dodged a bullet.

    So all in all, my friends were wrong and I was right and I will continue not listening to their advice on dating. (Which is usually about being more accommodating and “less picky”).

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