Know What You Don’t Want

By | April 12, 2005

It occurred to me this evening having dinner with a friend that most online dating sites have got it all wrong. They should take a leaf out of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and ask those seeking partners not to state what they’re looking for in a partner, or what they’re like themselves, but what they’re not looking for, and what they are not like.

I can’t remember what Gladwell wrote exactly, because I’m far from my books, but basically

  • we’re awful at expressing what it is we want, like or are looking for. When was the last time you were able to explain why you liked something properly?
  • when we’re looking for a relationship all we really know (as opposed to what we think we know, which is nothing) is that we don’t a repeat of the previous six failed relationships we want, and the kind of partners we had;
  • there are certain things we really can’t accept. I’m not big on big gums, big hair and oversized nostrils. Call me superficial, but that’s me. It’s a much easier way of describing my future partner than ‘nice personality, blonde, works out’, since that covers way too many people, without ever filtering out the kind of people who I know I would never consider dating.
  • It’s not about being picky: It’s about being able to articulate what you want, and being able to articulate what you don’t want better than what you do.
  • The converse is that it’s better to define in your profile what you’re not rather than what you are. That way other people save time finding out whether your views on Creation, say, are incompatible with their own, or whether you don’t have especially flat feet.

Call it The You May Not Know What You Want, But At Least We’ll Find Out What You Don’t Want Dating Agency. I’ve patented the idea already.

One thought on “Know What You Don’t Want

  1. Robin

    “I don’t want you to be like all the others I failed with” – hilarious and dead on. “I don’t want you to be the kind of person I’m usually attracted to as I can never make those relationships work.”

    I’m only halfway through Blink but I’m suprised that he’s been able to “think slice” relationships and spot those that will fail but hasn’t gone on to “thin slice” individual personalities and ID those who will always fail at relationships. Useful info if you need to filter out potential mates…


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