The Picky Date Dilemma

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What is the picky date dilemma, and can high dating standards ruin your love life? Whether you’re meeting people through online dating apps, social media, speed dating events, or in person, excessive selectivity can have many negative consequences. But what causes this issue, and how can you deal with it? Find out below!

The Problem

Being picky while dating is not a big problem, and it’s certainly okay to be selective if you want to look for the person that suits you the most. Obviously, it is our basic right to find the best match for ourselves. However, people can sometimes take it too far.

The real issue arises when we set such high standards that, not surprisingly, are completely unmatchable. Still, it makes perfect sense that you want to look for a cute guy with strong goals, perfect tax records, and a great sense of humor to boot. But what happens when you never find the person with the exact traits that you’re looking for?

Well, pickiness and high standards can narrow your perspective. Ultimately, you could become overly judgemental and narrow-minded. You might build up an image of the perfect date in your mind only to never find love in reality after years of searching. What’s more, some people could even fall back on their pickiness. They could use it as an excuse for being single and alone.

So what does being choosy really mean? Well, it’s simply a mindset in which you only look for a potential date or partner that matches your exact needs and preferences. Unfortunately, this is never entirely possible. It also takes away tons of exciting guesswork, flirting, romance, and simply getting to know someone who is different than you.

Some individuals are so selective that they only look for a date or partner who is identical to them. Others are bothered by smaller things. Just think of awkward-fitting jackets, nasty chewing noises, boring job choices, etc. But where should you draw the line?

It’s Healthy, and It’s Not

Like we’ve said, it’s your right to be selective. However, overdoing it can make you less open and less flexible to encountering new people. Yet, there are several ways in which pickiness can be healthy.

Firstly, it allows you to carefully think about your preferences and desires based on how you handled past relationships. You could use your experience to figure out what you’re truly looking for. If a past relationship didn’t work out, you have the right to pick someone with different qualities and character traits.

In contrast, most people who are overly selective tend to ignore compromises. They look for and want too much from their date, with requirements that are simply non-negotiable. That’s when pickiness becomes unhealthy.

Some people can become overly selective due to the fear of rejection and past relationship problems. Of course, you also need to understand the difference between being too choosy and sticking to single life. Lots of people refuse to settle, and it’s a lifestyle choice, but you shouldn’t use it as an excuse for high dating standards.

The Causes

What causes pickiness in dating? As we’ve mentioned above, it’s the result of multiple factors. Some people could become too envious of their friends’ relationships and their success. A narrow criterion for choosing a mate is often another culprit. It can be influenced by past relationship issues, fears, or even inexperience.

Moreover, it’s possible that people who are inexperienced in relationships and dating could build up idealized images in their minds. They could look for a dream-like partner who, honestly, only exists in movies and books. Also, some may only open up to people if they know that they are 100% compatible with them. Others are simply built to be picky in life, and they strive to have full control of everything around them, including their dates.

All in all, dating is different for everyone, and there are many other causes of excessive pickiness. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t judge yourself or others who are too selective in their dates. Also, you can get through the problem by reading up on dating advice online or by seeing a therapist.

The Speed Dating Experiment

One of the most effective ways to test various dating phenomena is through speed dating. Researchers can reach concrete conclusions by analyzing speed dating events because they underpin various dating behaviors. They also provide a structured way of testing the participants’ responses and see who is pickier when speed dating.

To those unfamiliar, such events are set in a public place (i.e., restaurant or bar). The goal is to quickly connect the participants to each other. When the session starts, men are usually the ones who rotate and mingle between tables while the women are seated. There is a set time frame for each “date.” And when the event ends, the female participants can choose who they liked the best. After that, the male participants can also select their choices. If both participants express interest in each other, the organizers will allow them to exchange each others’ contact details.

Several studies have shown that women tend to be more selective at such events. This may be due to the traditional “man approaches woman” norms. Conversely, at standard speed dating events, men are much less picky while approaching women. They are more likely to express their interest in nearly half of the female participants. In contrast, the female participants are interested in only a third of the male participants. Research has found that pickiness occurs with both genders if they are placed in the same situation. That is, female selectivity drops if the women are the ones who rotate. In turn, male selectivity increases if the men are stationary.

Solving the Problem

Ultimately, if you’re a selective dater, you could waste a lot of time on self-sabotage. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to get rid of many picky dating habits.

The first tip is to let go of your assumptions and open your mind. If you’re on a first date, try not to think too much about your expectations. Dating shouldn’t be an inquisition. You shouldn’t only focus on net worth, work, and similar. If you start with some light conversation, you will actually get familiar with your date’s best qualities. That could even allow you to see something that’s not on your priority list.

However, you shouldn’t throw that list out altogether. It’s a good idea to keep a list of wishes or needs that your partner can meet. You can start with the longest possible list and write down anything that comes to mind. Then, edit the list and prioritize. Think about all the items that you can remove. It’s perfectly okay to include some non-negotiable things and red flags, but think about how much they truly matter first.

Moreover, you should also consider and analyze your fears. How much do they influence you while dating people? Tackling your fears can allow you to be more open and free while dating. Also, think about romance and spontaneity. Wouldn’t it be boring if your partner was a complete copy of yourself? The trick is to leave room for dissimilarities and welcome them. Lastly, you can always consult your family and friends for advice. They may be able to tell you if your dating standards are too high.


Now that you know everything about excessive pickiness in dating, you can try to keep an open mind and avoid some of the pitfalls of this problem. So reconsider your dating choices, focus on what truly matters, and open yourself up to new experiences. Good luck!