Life After Divorce . . . Turnoffs

By Lindy Earl

I’ve met people who couldn’t get jobs but didn’t understand why.  I’ve met people who couldn’t maintain a relationship and couldn’t understand why.  I’ve observed that it’s possible that the reasons behind each are similar.

Once upon a time, about eight years ago, I was giving a Seminar on applying the Sales Process to the job hunt.  You know, prospecting for clients is similar to looking for an employer.  We went all the way through the steps to closing the deal – asking for the job.

One gentleman in the group told us he’d had 11 first interviews and no follow ups.  Hmmmm. It seems similar to people I’ve met who have had a dozen first dates but no follow ups.  I have to wonder if the reasons are similar.  In this case, the gentleman attended a professional seminar with poor hygiene.  I wasn’t close enough to know if he brushed his teeth, but his hair was uncombed and he had skipped shaving for several days in a row.  His clothes were crumpled and badly in need of an iron.  If he had shown up for an interview with you, would you have hired him?  If he, or a female version of him, had shown up for a meet ‘n greet with you, would you have accepted a date?

Good news:  these are simply physical challenges and easy to correct.  A larger challenge, however, is when it’s the personality that’s causing trouble. You know, the arrogant, fibbers, selfish, know-it-all, narcissists.  Wow!  Imagine going out with someone like that.  I’d wonder if it was even correctable.  I’ve been out with these people and never stayed around to learn if they ever fixed it.  They probably didn’t even realize that they have challenges.  This type never does.

So, the turnoffs are pretty easy to know.  We don’t want dirty, poor manners, rude people in our lives if we can avoid it.  Sometimes we are subjected to these people at work or someplace, and you have to admit, you wonder about their personal life.  So, once you know what not to do, stop doing it.  Easy, right?

The next, and even more important, question, is what people do want.  That’s pretty easy: honest, loyal, trying, willing to meet halfway, good communication skills, mannerly.  Basically, the opposite of what they don’t want.

Now, looking at it from a different side, there are also some things that all people have in common:  people the world over like to be appreciated, and to laugh, and to be heard, to be valued and to be important, and to be needed.

Now, can we put these three lists together?  What do people not want – avoid that.  What do people want? Adopt those behaviors. What is important to people? Learn to treat others, to communicate with them, in such a way that they feel valued and important.

It’s easy to find the turnoffs.  In fact, if you’re ever at a quiet table, bring up the topic and listen to the hilarious stories that will be told.  It’s good that we can laugh about it afterwards.  Some may be a bit hard to handle, but everyone has the stories.  The woman who had no manners and spit food as she ate.  The guy who made every conversation about himself (snore).  The person who was always late and never saw the issue.  Not only will all these stories surface, but as they are told, everyone at the table, including you, will be nodding, able to relate.  You’ll speak over one another with your own stories of similar, but of course far worse, examples.

But, in life, who wants these stories?  And who would ever want to be the example in the story?  Oh, I shudder at the thought of being the main character of a story about turnoffs.  I’m sure they are out there about me – the woman who corrected grammar!  Yes, I do that, but I’m slowly learning to do it in my head while I smile.

Nobody wants to be the turnoff story, and nobody wants to be around these turnoffs.  Sometimes the turnoffs, in fairness, are hard to know. It’s true that what’s a turnoff for some is just fine for others.  Let’s take a simple example of height.  I’m 5’6” and really don’t enjoy dating really tall guys.  Other women, however, even shorter than me, think height is fabulous.  So, don’t pick on yourself about some physical and unchangeable feature.  We’re not discussing those.

We’re discussing the foibles and faults that are correctable.  The poor manners, sloppy clothes, and rude behavior that are a turnoff in every situation, not just social.  You don’t want to work with these people any more than you want to date them.

The good news, as we said, is that these turnoffs are all correctable!  Find a good friend, maybe a sibling or family member, and convince them to tell you the truth.  Assure them you can take it and want to grow from the conversation.  Then listen.  If it’s something silly, like they don’t like your shoes, just ignore it.  How shallow and 7th grade is that?!  It wasn’t worth dealing with then and it isn’t today.  A difference in style is not the point, but if they point out that your clothes are tattered and pilled, it may be time to go shopping.  If halitosis, a word created by a company that claimed to cure bad breath, is brought up, then get some toothpaste and mints.  If manners are an issue, then watch others, get online, do whatever it takes to learn the manners you need to be more successful in this world.  Manners will help your professional life as well as your personal life.  And yes, talking about yourself to excess is considered poor manners.

Like I said, the good news is that if you are exemplifying any turnoffs, you’re only a few days, maybe less, of completely turning yourself around. Isn’t that good to know?  You got this!

That’s Life After Divorce.

                Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at or find her on Face Book and like her FB page.  Also join her FB group, Single Again: From Devastation to Dating. You can receive a free newsletter by sending Lindy your email address or subscribe to her newsletter, Life After Divorce, at