If we never give a stranger a break, how can we ever become his friend, let alone his wife?
When I met my husband he was wearing powder blue cowboy boots
at an upscale wine bar. Needless to say I couldn’t take him seriously. Luckily I didn’t have to, because he made me laugh for the next few hours. But there were more stumbling blocks to come. His bachelor pad never had toilet paper, he held his fork like a Viking stabbing a slab of mutton, and the smell emanating from his gym bag was post-apocalyptic.
But I gave him a break for those first few weeks because he was a good friend of my best friend’s husband. If he was good enough for them, who was I to dismiss him so quickly? And as it happens, once I learned to look past these ‘faults’, I fell in love.
Next time you find yourself dismissing a man based on a minor ‘fault’, ask yourself these three simple questions:
Is the ‘fault’ something material, or in his character? Ie. A bad haircut vs. a mean sense of humo
Is it something that could reasonably change or not? Ie. Getting a broken tooth fixed vs. he lives out of state with no plans to move.
Is it something that could possibly grow on me or not? Ie A quirky fashion sense vs. an arrogant disposition
If you chose the former in any of these three questions, give the guy a break! I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like I’m telling you how to settle rather than how to score the perfect guy, but the bottom line is that we have to give other human beings a break. Follow my logic here. What is the most common way that people meet, fall in love, and start long-term relationships? Everyone agrees; it’s through friends. That’s why house parties and weddings are the holy grail of dating world.
What makes meeting someone through a friend more palatable than meeting at, say, a bar? It’s simple. There’s an understanding that because this person has gained the trust and approval of your friend, they must be worth getting to know. In short, you give him a break. And once we resolve to give a guy a break, we have a reason to get past the powder blue cowboy boots.
I have a friend Meg who dismisses men left and right for the most trivial reasons. It’s like going out with Seinfeld – this guy’s forehead is too large, that guy’s pants are too tight etc. The last time she started cataloging all the faults of the approachable men in our vicinity, I asked her point blank, “Are you really looking for a relationship?” She was insulted, saying that I must be implying that she should settle for someone with faults. Can you guess my reply? “Everyone has faults!”
I told her my powder blue cowboy boots story and she made a face saying that doesn’t count because I met him through a friend, so I knew it was worthwhile. This really gave me something to think about. If we never give a stranger a break, how can we ever become his friend, let alone his wife?