One of the Best Pieces of Relationship Advice I Have Received

How do you know what to look for in a romantic partner?
Photo by JD Chow.

When thinking about the traits you want in a romantic partner, it can be easy to get a little sidetracked or stuck on the details. (You don't have to share every interest, but you should share some, right? But how many? And which ones? What about your traits? Which do you want to share and which will benefit from someone who takes a different approach? How many are essential and how many are nice to have?)

My mom recently gave me a wonderful piece of advice: she said to look at my closest friends and use them as a framework when I consider what kind of person I would like to be with romantically.

This is quite possibly the best piece of romantic advice I have ever received!

Your closest friends are the people you have chosen to be in your life, hopefully for the long haul. You are obviously compatible with them. You have fun together, you support each other through harder times, and most likely share some core values.

Of course it's different to be with someone in a romantic relationship than a friendship, but what a great place to start. After all, everyone loves to post about how they are "marrying their best friend" on their Instas the morning of their weddings, and how much better if it's actually true! (Okay, okay, I'm sure everyone who posts that at least believes it's true at the time.)

It's possible that you never think that much about what you're looking for and just go out into the world meeting people and enjoying life, which sounds both like it must be fun and also like my nightmare.

I am a planner. I like to think things through and be intentional with pretty much everything, including (and maybe especially) the kind of person I might spend my life with. This doesn't mean that I create a hard-and-fast chart to rate each date against (although heck, that might be useful), but it does mean that I find it very helpful to have an idea of what I'm looking for in advance. After all, there are a lot of feelings involved in dating, and some of them don't actually have your best interest at heart.

So excuse me while I go analyze all my closest friends for common traits and create a complex scoring rubric for all future dates! I should probably just get them to fill in a personality test, right?

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