By Lindy Earl
I was chatting with a friend a few weeks ago, sharing something that happened at work – and he was off! Asking questions, making comments, sharing ideas. It was a fun conversation because I greatly enjoy discussing business. At some point I said that I think that, since he retired, he must miss work to engage in the conversation the way he did.
We spoke again recently, and he mentioned my comment. Then he explained to me that yes he enjoys discussing business, but the passion in his response was due to me – he was interested in what happened at my office because he’s my friend, so interested in what happens to me. Bang! It was like a shot in the head—or maybe the heart. This is what everyone wants! To have someone be so true in their friendship that they are interested in a topic because they are interested in what matters to you.
Since I began dating a few years ago, I have been asked what I’m looking for. It’s such a nebulous question so hard to answer. What do you say? In addition, the answer can change with circumstances, time, and age.
When you first begin dating again, you may just be looking to get out of the house. You may be trying to create a social life for yourself, and dating is one way of doing that. Calling friends of the same gender, joining a group, taking yourself to local activities are other ways, but not quite the same. You may, or course, be looking for physical affection (what a gentle way of saying it, huh?).
With time, you may realize that you don’t want to date as much as you want a relationship with one person. A real relationship with feelings and attention and passion. But can you articulate that when someone asks, “What are you looking for?” especially if they are asking before you even know what you want?
I have learned that a lot of men I meet want companionship and I’m guessing that it’s true for women as well. When I want to watch a football game, I find it more enjoyable to watch it with friends, or a friend. Yes, I’m fine watching alone, but it’s more fun with a companion. So is that the answer to the question of what I’m looking for? A companion? You can hire a companion so I don’t think it’s just that.
Sometimes I think the person asking the question is trying to ascertain if you’re looking for marriage. I know a lot of people, both men and women, who are. They know that they are happier in a committed relationship and they want the wedding. Others are happy being in a committed relationship and don’t need the rings to show the world. Others are happy going from one committed relationship to another, each lasting for only a few years. They are always in one committed relationship at a time, but they are all relatively short-term. Are we able, and willing, to state this when asked what we’re looking for?
When this friend told me the other day that he was interested in what I was saying because he’s interested in me, it hit me hard. I asked him if he realized how sexy his statement was. He said he didn’t, that he was just being honest. Wow. Even better.
Now, the wary people among us, and I’m one, might overthink this. Is he just saying this with some ulterior motive? Is it just a line that he uses, knowing how good it is while pretending to not realize? And . . . does it matter? Why am I overthinking this? Maybe it’s time to just enjoy a really great comment, and a potentially great relationship.
Sometimes we don’t realize what we want until we find it. We may have ideas in our heads, and some people make lists: religious preferences, sense of humor, integrity, height, weight (admit it!), education, career, LOCATION (it’s a huge deal in my area because traffic is notoriously bad in Atlanta so it can take half an hour to drive eight miles), history, and more. Sometimes the list is in our head, but it’s still there.
Then again, we may say that we are looking for certain things, but our behavior and choices show a different truth. Women, if you’re looking for a great guy who will treat you right, then why do you go after the bad boys who act like jerks? Gents, if you say you want someone who will accept you for you who are and not what you have, then why are you looking past the ladies with hearts of gold but are slightly overweight? The best people don’t always come in the best packages.
Sometimes we meet someone who makes us laugh, and makes us feel pretty great about ourselves. We may not have great communication at first, but it’s okay if you have to work at the relationship. You should never stop working at your relationships (friendships, siblings, and of course, romantic relationships).
Whatever we say we want, the truth is that a person who is interested in us, for who we are and not what we offer, is incredibly sexy and hard to resist. And why should we even want to resist it? It’s what we want.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.
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