Matchmaker Advice: 5 Ways to Reframe Your Dating Desires into Core Values
The apps give you facts. It’s time to look at core values instead.
Among the many things we matchmakers do to understand our clients is ask thought provoking questions. Sure, we have the facts. We know what their preferences for age, ethnicity, height, income level, education, and family goals might be. What’s tougher for clients to describe is how those facts speak to their core values, and that is where dating gold is found.
Core values speak to the way we navigate the world, the way we think, and the way we behave with others. When someone’s core values are very attractive to us, it creates an opening for chemistry on a much deeper level. Sounds nice, right?
Here’s a look at the top five misconstrued desires from daters, reframed in terms of core values.
1. Physical Attraction
Physical attractiveness is not a core value. I’m starting with the toughest one, because almost everyone needs a huge redirect here.
I will concede that we can have “types” and generic turn ons that vary from one person to the next. However, I will also say with absolute certainty — from experience myself and the experiences of my clients — attractiveness grows with core value attraction.
One of my favorite prompts goes something like this — tell me a story about a time you found someone attractive, even though they weren’t normally someone you might be drawn to. You may guess what happens — they describe getting to know someone over time and how the core values and personality qualities about that person made them ever more physically and sexually attractive. They might even cite a celebrity crush that seems odd to most people but because of (name your quirk that turns you on), they’ve just always had a thing for them. I hope everyone’s head is nodding in agreement here.
Many clients (both male and female) will say they need the looks aspects first before they can even consider anything else, as if the physical appearance of someone is the only gateway to love and all other factors are meaningless without it. The online apps would have us believing this as well. Looks first, everything else second.
It’s very seductive to abide by this principle. Swipe until you see something you like, then investigate the rest of them.
I’m not here to say physical attraction is not a part of chemistry. I’m here to challenge the idea that looks first is a healthy way to date. As much as I hear the phrase, “If the looks aren’t there,” I want to start hearing the phrase, “If the core values aren’t there,” just as often.
Now, putting effort into one’s appearance, caring about style (or not), being open to changing one’s appearance over time, and having certain cleanliness or hygiene habits might speak to some important values. That is 100% something useful to determine compatibility.
You can have your types. Just remember, chemistry and physical attraction can grow over time and those who have some patience with their hormonal surges while they investigate someone’s personality a little deeper may find the most success in the dating world.
How much people make or have is not, in and of itself, a core value. Look a little further than income or bank account for a deeper connection, I beg of you.
The habit of investment and preparation for the future speaks to a value. The generosity of how they deal with money and exactly what they spend on speaks to a value. The hard work and dedication they put into building a life for themself may speak to some important core values. Even the things that people like to save for or splurge on speak far greater volumes than a stagnant number.
Bottom dollar line — the amount in the bank is not a good indicator of who someone is. Read this again if you still have dollar signs in your eyes.
Age is not a core value. I see a lot of variation with age ranges and most of them are pretty open but there is one trend I find particularly puzzling.
Almost every single dater I’ve met over the age of 40 believes they look and seem younger than their years, and would need a younger person to match with them because they’re special. They’re not like the rest of their age group. This is men and women.
Some of them are coming from histories of only dating younger and some of them are coming from histories of being with someone the same age or older for many years and finding them “old and boring” in comparison.
What these daters are really saying is — I’m active, I still go out, I’m not stuck in my ways and I want someone fun. Right on, I love it!
And guess what — many, many people feel this way.
If you’re stuck on age, it’s probably not the number you should be stuck on. It’s core values that relate to a sense of adventure, ability to enjoy and relate to younger generational trends, and a desire to continue exploring life with a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.
Height is not a core value. Also, just a reminder — the average height of a man in the world is 5'8. STRAIGHT LADIES, DID YOU HEAR ME?
Don’t you dare complain about finding your soulmate if one of your dealbreakers is that you only want to look for your special someone in the top 10% of the population for height. Are you in the top 10%? No? Then, give your soulmate a friggin’ chance, my gosh.
When you ask for a very, very tall man, you are decreasing your chances of finding Mr. Right by a lot. This is because it’s not just about the height. A radically tall height is in addition to all those other things you think are so easy to find. Think about it from a purely statistics point of view — what is that height really worth to you when you are looking for true compatibility? Do you want to eliminate the majority of people based on one physical feature and then hope they have the rest? Probably not. My advice — it’s reasonable to ask for an inch or two, not eight.
Go for someone that makes you feel sexy (because of who you are), safe through their decisions, emotionally protected, and matches your lifestyle physically in terms of activities. That’s going to be way closer to your core values than the extra inches that don’t make any difference in their ability to be a good partner.
Education level is not a core value. Pursuing knowledge is.
I hear and understand the common sentiment that a college education is an indicator that someone has had an experience with a diverse set of ideas, values and people, or learned in great institutions to push their boundaries of knowledge. I think that is very true for a lot of people that have been through university. But what we’re saying is, we value someone who is curious about the world and has a desire to learn new things. We want someone who values knowledge and has had exposure to many different kinds of ideas and people.
There are a lot of people without college degrees that are fantastically worldly, well-traveled, successful in their careers, voracious readers, and seek out new knowledge with every free Ted Talk, Harvard lecture and NYT Best Seller they can get their hands on. Be careful of discounting these folks and those core values you actually love by requiring an Ivy League master’s on a resume.
When two people are compatible, many of our pickier desires soften as we realize that a good fit is usually about core values. I would encourage any daters out there having a tough time to re-evaluate their “must haves” and see if some of them might be going after the wrong thing. I even wrote a specific post about being flexible on the apps, which has a lot of parallels.
Lastly, remember core values take time to see and understand. One date is never enough to see a whole person. True compatibility is about spending real, quality time with someone, and staying open to the possibility that you may have all the facts, but they mean nothing without a hard look at core values.
Change the way you date. Get a coach. Get dating.
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