Something has really been bugging me lately. One of those moments where the things people say spark an idea that just worms its way in.
Oh, the number of applications a job gets; oh, how many people didn’t work out. Whole news articles get written on the subject, from “nobody wants to work anymore,” “quiet quitting,” now we even talk about “quiet firing,” like that’s a new thing.
The part that stands out the most is our collective understanding that, whether it’s the employer or the market, or the candidate pool, filling a job in a company is hard work.
But what you almost never hear is treating the process of looking for a long-term relationship partner the same way. Instead, if you go through a lot of people trying to find who is right for you, you get labeled. You are too fussy, you are impossible to please, you’re the problem. You get judgement, you get critiqued, you get told that maybe what you really need is to lower your standards. What you really need is to settle for less. What you really need is to be “realistic.”
Haven’t we all been told that at some point when we enter the dating world? We show up, bright eyed, optimistic, we know what we want. Well, if not, we kiss a few frogs, realize what our boundaries are, and we start creating the idea of what we want.
And then it happens, unlike the employer looking for employees, we don’t get supportive understanding that who we are looking for may be hard to find. We are told our standards are too high. We want too much. We need to lower our expectations. No one could exist that will be that.
Every day on the network, I run across people who are in two different situations that are, in short, a part of the way we treat people who are dating. The Doormat and the Time Bomb, both convinced that what they really want is impossible to find. One settles, they put up with whatever they have to, day after day, year after year, because of course they can’t do better, right? The other one tosses and turns, their stomach a burning pit of doubt, is everyone else right? Is it me? Am I being impossible, is that why I am still single?
One resolved to suffer through, because you heard them, I wanted too much, I expected too much, I’m obviously not worth that much.
One losing resolve, bit by bit, worn down comment by comment, every day they are still single feels like further proof that they wanted too much, expected too much, are obviously not worth that much.
I’ve been there, I’ve heard the same words, felt the same pain. I’ve kissed the frogs, I’ve thrown them with great force into the nearest scummy pond that I could find. I’ve laid awake at night, questioning, anguishing, am I asking for too much?
Tonight, I sat down and looked back. It took 38 people to find the current, right, long-term relationship partners for me. I have been dating for less years than the number of people it took to find what worked. Some only lasted for a month, some didn’t get to a second date. Some worked out for a while, until they did not anymore. I rejected many applications. I went on many first dates I wish I couldn’t remember, I don’t remember many more.
You’ve had that now hiring sign sitting in your window to the point it has dust? You have taken and rejected a lot of applications? You have gone on a lot of first, and please for the love of all things holy let it be the last, dates? You have lost track of how many people you have dated? You do remember, but you are ashamed of the number?
No really, good! Stay the course. Respect yourself and hold yourself to finding what you really want, instead of settling for whatever you can get. You are offering a position that requires a very skilled professional to fill the role. Keep screening those applications, keep going on those dates, keep up the search. Keep trying, and moving on, and trying again. It pays off in the end.
Especially if you test their skills early, saves a whole lot of time wasted on trying to train them better. Hint, you will fail. People are not projects, they come preassembled. If you don’t what you see, you’re not going to make it much better with a glue gun, staples, or paint.