Should You Be Picky If You're Single & Dating? Experts Break It Down For You

I’m no stranger to answering questions from friends and family about my love life. During the extended periods of time I’ve spent single over the years, I’ve gotten used to hearing, “It’s been awhile since you’ve seriously dated anyone. What’s going on?” My go-to answer is usually something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m just picky!” I’m a firm believer that you should be picky if you’re single and dating, even if it means you don’t get into relationships often. It’s important to be with someone you’re compatible with — not just the first person you happen to meet on an app or at the bar.

If you really want to be in a relationship, you might feel tempted to get serious with whomever you first feel a spark, regardless of shared interests or lifestyles. And while those feelings of romantic chemistry are super fun, they’re not always indicators that you two would make a well-balanced match. "Sparks don't mean someone will be a good fit for you as a long-term partner," explained Anita A. Chlipala, dating and relationship expert and licensed marriage and family therapist. "Feelings of infatuation fade for everyone … Attraction and connection are important, but there are many variables that can affect those feelings.” Sparks can either grow or fade as you learn more about someone's personality.

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Lasting relationships are built on common interests and values, and it’s not always easy to find a person who shares these with you. "When you share the same passions, it’s a clear indicator that you’re a good match," relationship expert Susan Winter told Elite Daily. After all, if you’re going to spend a significant amount of time with someone, it makes sense that you’d want them to have a lot in common with you. When you’re going on dates, you’ll probably meet people with varying degrees of similarity to you, and you’ll have to decide what qualities matter most to you in a potential partner.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between being picky because you know what you want in a partner, and being picky because you’re afraid of rejection. Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, licensed psychologist and relationship expert, explained that being “discerning” means you’re secure enough to prioritize your happiness in any potential relationship, which is why you won’t settle for just anyone. "I love discerning people," Rhodes told Elite Daily. "They always make decisions from a place of love but with a strong dash of boundaries." Discerning people know that not everyone is right for them, and they're totally OK with that.

If you’re picky because of insecurities, however, Rhodes said you might be ruling out potential partners because you’re "operating from a place of fear." You’re concerned you’ll make the wrong choice, and you’re caught up in finding someone perfect (an impossible ideal) rather than finding someone who complements you. In that case, it might be wise to spend time embracing your single life and investing in yourself so you’re more confident in knowing what you value in a partner.

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Most importantly, try not to feel feel discouraged or frustrated if you rarely meet people you want to date. When you’re approaching your relationships from a healthy place of self-love, it’s good to be picky — it means you’re not willing to settle for less than you know you deserve. When you meet the right person, you'll feel ready to pursue a relationship with them, but until then... you do you!