You know, there’s a difference between having high standards, knowing your core values, and being just plain picky.
It’s easy to make fun of lists, and some are patently ridiculous. But having a list can be a way to be upfront with yourself about what you value. I like Laura’s method of having 3 columns: needs, wants, and bonus.
That way you can say, “You know, I really cherish getting to talk art with loved ones, and it’d be amazing if he liked the post-impressionists too.” But you don’t have to say, “His idea of admiring art is noticing a new design on his soda can, that’s close enough” or “But this guy who’s almost perfect prefers Van Gogh’s Paris sunflowers to his Arles sunflowers, so clearly it’s not meant to be!”
You don’t want to be unreasonable or proud or snobby, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. What do you want? What do you need? Take a little time to think about it. Talk to married couples you admire. People-watch. What makes you grin, cringe, sigh?
What do you value? Do you need someone with strong manners, who always thanks store clerks and waitstaff and means it? Can you live with someone who isn’t a big reader, who gets his art and story and connection in another way? Do you have to have someone active, who spends his free time running on the trail / playing calvinball / lifting heavy objects for fun? Can you look past copious nose hair if he’s good with kids?
You’d hate to be settled-for, right? It’d be dreadful to know that your partner quietly thought less of you because you were different from what they’d hoped or expected. So don’t do that to someone else, don’t settle for them. If deep, insightful conversation is a big part of what you value in your friendships and something you want to be a big part of your life, then find a great conversationalist and don’t apologize for prioritizing it. If it has to be deep conversations about art, well, then it has to be about art.
Frankly, if you ARE being picky, then be picky. It’s a sign of immaturity, and if your standards are truly so restrictive that nobody’ll fit into them, then perhaps you need time to grow up before you’re ready. (Cf. Mr. Ridiculous up above. He should not be dating. His list is a shiny red flag announcing that to the world. Thank heavens.) Go ahead and keep your list silly until you mature enough to re-evaluate.
We have to strive to balance realism and generosity towards others with a healthy regard for our own boundaries and needs. You’re allowed to need things, you’re allowed to want things, and you’re entitled to your boundaries. Anyone who says otherwise is not someone you want to date.
It’s good to have high standards for yourself too. If you end up with this Mr. Wonderful who knows which Van Gogh paintings are truly sublime (*cough* Starry Night Over the Rhone *cough*), you’ll want to offer him the best of yourself, right? So put in the effort and build the skills you value: communication, patience, kindness, competence, whatever.
He deserves someone who thinks he’s a prince. You deserve someone you think is a prince. So if you think he’s a frog, or you find his occasional croaks concerning, talk about it, but be prepared to let him go.