Have your friends ever suggested that you make a list of pros and cons when it comes to major life decisions? It may seem silly, but it can actually be a surprisingly helpful way to sort out your thoughts. When it comes to dating, it's even smarter to make a list of non-negotiables. These are the qualities and things you absolutely require or aren't willing to compromise on, no matter what. It may seem extreme, but if you're ready to stop playing the field and settle down, it could be helpful. Here are some tips to get you started:
Draw on past experiences.
In the past, you've probably made some dating mistakes. We all have. It's only natural to experience a few hiccups as you date around and find out what does and doesn't work for you. Instead of viewing these upsetting situations as negative, consider the things you discover you can or can't deal with as future clues to look for with your next dating venture.
Don't lie to yourself.
Consider writing this list like writing in your diary. Nothing but the cold hard truth goes into this list. Be real with yourself; you will never get who you want or where you want if you lie to yourself about what you're really looking for. Not being truthful to yourself via this list is you settling, and that's the last thing you want to do. If you're not ready to be 100% honest with yourself on what you will and won't stand for, wait to make this list.
Nothing is off-limits.
This is your list. No one has to see it or even know about it. It's a list crafted especially for you and your needs. Don't be embarrassed or nervous to create it and be as specific as you want. Try your best to not leave anything in the gray area; be as black and white as you can. For example, if he/she must have a college degree, write it down. If he/she must have no kids, write it down. If he/she cannot be a smoker, write it down. If you need someone who loves country music, write it down! Getting this specific will help whittle down your pool of options so it's more manageable.
Know the list can change.
This is the most important thing to keep in mind if you decide to make a list of non-negotiables: The list can change. Just because you write something down, doesn't mean it can't be crossed out, erased, or edited. People are fickle; we change our minds about what we want for lunch 10 times before noon! Life can be unpredictable, which means we sometimes have to adapt to surprises. If you find yourself suddenly open to compromising on something you said you wouldn't have budged on in the past, go with it. If the man or woman you start to fall for checks off 9 out of 10 things you wrote on your list, give it a chance. The non-negotiable list is a sturdy jumping off point, but be open to revising it as you go along.
In addition to being a world-renowned comedian, talk show host, philanthropist, husband and father, Steve Harvey is the Chief Love Officer of Delightful.com. He draws on his personal experiences and the stories that millions of people have shared with him over the years to help more people find and keep the love they deserve.
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