When is it appropriate to ask “What are you looking for?”

I dread this question. You match with a guy online based on nothing but some pictures and a brief glimpse into the best qualities they believe they possess. Then you have a 2 minute conversation about your weekend or how your work day is going then they hit you with the question “so what are you looking for?”.

I always take a minute to answer this. The first thing that runs through my mind is should I give him a real answer or just be a total smart ass? “Preferably a man.” The second thing that runs through my mind is what I think I actually want out of someone I am dating. And lastly I think “how the hell am I supposed supposed to know yet what I want from YOU?” I think this question can have many different answers depending on the guy I am talking to.

  • There are those you KNOW are only trouble. You know this and you’re accepting it so you choose to say you are just looking for fun. Boy translation: Booty call.
  • Those that could be potentially great for a while but you know it will never last (but you secretly hope they will surprise you). In this case you say you want to find someone to date and have fun with and just see where it goes. Boy translation: Hookup
  • And then there are the guys that check every box on your list in every category and you want to say MARRIAGE! but obviously that’s crazy so you don’t know what to say because if you say just something casual you will lose his interest because obviously Mr Perfect only has loving committed relationships. But then you don’t want to scare him away by saying you want a relationship. Because what if he THINKS he just wants a fling but he’s just waiting for the right girl to come along which is YOU??! C’mon you know you’ve thought the same thing at least once. You decide to choose the “relationship” route as the way to go after talking yourself into having better self-esteem and if he really likes you he will want that too. Boy translation: Marriage.

But how do I determine any of this after 2 minutes???

I have been vague about what I really want out of these dating sites regardless of who I’m talking to at the moment because I haven’t really been sure what I want yet. I originally wanted someone to go out with on real dates, keep it light but consistent. I would like to just experience the beginning few months of a relationship and then call it quits amicably to find someone else. Rinse and repeat. Now that I have been at it for a while I’m realizing maybe that’s not so easy. Plus as I noted above, you tell a guy this and all he hears is “hookup”.

Maybe I am just like most men and women on these sites that really don’t have any faith in finding what will make me happy on a dating app but life is too busy and how else am I going to get back out there? This is why I am questioning this question that pressures us to define our relationships before they are even relationships. Why do I need to know right now? I could understand if you have clear boundaries you want to determine (remember open relationship guy? THAT makes sense to me). But if not then what is the rush to figure it out? If you are worried about wasting your time maybe you should come forward with what you’re looking for and give the other the chance to accept your terms. Rather than asking the other person to decide on the spot what they want from you, you control the conversation.

Maybe next time I am asked this question I will just refuse to answer it. Boy translation: Friends with benefits

5 thoughts on “When is it appropriate to ask “What are you looking for?”

  1. Just curious–because I haven’t done the online dating thing yet (too image conscious I think) but I always wonder how people know what they want. I want whatever is possible–but like you said, I don’t know what I want from that specific person until I know them better.
    Like I said, I want whatever is possible, but I know that makes me sound indecisive.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a friend who, while not an expert at online dating, has a bit of experience in the ……genre? field? area? Anyway, she judges people based on their writing in their profile. I can’t decide whether that is harsh or wise.


      2. In my experience which is only about a year of mostly bad dates, I would say it is wise. As a fellow writer I am sure you can agree that it doesn’t take much effort to write in complete sentences and say something concrete about yourself. If someone isn’t capable of putting they much effort into a profile think of how much effort they will put in a relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

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