How to Filter Guys for Relationship Potential

John Green quoteI received a new question from a reader and it’s an excellent one. It relates to a curriculum I’m developing, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to present it and get some feedback while trying to help her out.

Hi Susan,
I have been reading the main articles of your blog lately (always very interesting material, I have been sending it around to friends!).

I am now wondering about the following: women should be selective and filter, filter, filter and never settle for less.. But that we also shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations about relationships.

Where should the line be drawn? Where does the filtering become unrealistic?

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Ariane

Dear Ariane,
Thanks for sharing HUS posts with your friends – that is the best way for HUS to grow! I appreciate it very much.I once wrote this at the conclusion of a post:
Filtering aggressively to make room for the right person to show up: result happiness.
Going all in with an ultimately incompatible person not meant for the long haul: result misery.  
Filtering is the single most important thing anyone can do when dating for a relationship because it determines the stability of the foundation. Nearly every story of heartache I hear is directly attributable to poor filtering by one or both parties.First step: The field of guys who are interested in you. Let’s say there are a lot of them, because you are very attractive. :) (The filtering process works equally well for one person; it’s just not as much fun.)We don’t know what these guys are looking for, or if you’d be compatible. We need to narrow the field of competitors.

Filtering 1.001

The most efficient way of doing this is by identifying red flags as the primary filtering mechanism.

 

Filtering.002

Wow, that’s overwhelming. Let’s look at these a bit more closely.

Filtering.003

Yup, this is your classical bad boy, the unfortunate constellation of all these traits. Any one of them is a red flag, though, and a sign that you should FIDO (f*ck it, drive on). These character and personality traits signify low relationship potential. This is where the heartbreak happens.

Filtering.004

These are the behaviors that usually accompany poor character traits, which you cannot change. They are symptoms of bad things that happened long before you came along.

In the early days of dating someone, behaviors are far easier to recognize than personality traits or deeper problems. One caveat: you might catch someone at a bad time, and their behavior may not be indicative of their usual manner. Call it out calmly, and set boundaries for the future. But just once.

Filtering.005

Now it’s time to filter for your personal preferences. Are you attracted to this guy? Does he share your values? Do you enjoy his company? Is he smart and hard working?

Most importantly, do you feel secure in the way things are moving ahead, or are you wondering if he’s interested? A man who is interested in something real will want to keep things moving and spend time with you. If your intuition has you worried, he doesn’t make it through the filter.

Filtering 6.006
Whoo-hoo, you’ve got a real prospect here! This is the best case scenario, obviously. If Adam doesn’t make it through the filter, you need to wait for the next interested guy and repeat the process. Avoid drama with the also-rans or the guys just trying to get in there.You should expect no more of Adam than you can deliver yourself. Of course, he’ll presumably have his own filtering mechanism, however informal, and you’ll be getting feedback one way or the other.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Let things progress organically. You should escalate emotionally, because for sure he will be escalating sexually. Calibrate your enthusiasm with his.

Lastly, throw all superficial dealbreakers out the window. I’ve heard many women express regret that they quit seeing a guy for something minor, like the way he folded two Kleenex into squares before going to sleep every night. Focus on what really matters.

So there you go, you’re on your way to a potentially lifelong relationship! You got your hero because you didn’t waste any of your valuable time with a zero.

What do you guys think? I’d love any and all constructive feedback.

Did I answer Ariane’s question?

Does the concept make sense to you?

What did I miss?

How do you feel about the graphics?

Let me have it!