I like you. But first, do you like dogs?

Smart, kind, outdoorsy, attractive, close with their family, lover of the outdoors and dogs, social butterfly, good teeth and hair, solid handshake, snuggler of the century. Did I mention bright?

And the list goes on. 

We all have a "list".

Even if it’s not written (and of course mine isn’t …), we all have a mental list of traits that we most desire in a partner. We treasure our lists, and we cling to them tightly.

Our lists protects us from the swirling unknowns that surround us. They provide guidance and a "known" in this unpredictable journey we call life, and give us assurance that we have an iota of power over who we spend our days with. Who we will grocery shop with, and vacuum the carpets with, and go on awesome adventures with. Our person. 

But in my old age (aka: my 30 years on earth), I have learned that the list can deprive us of people who may actually be great for us, and have qualities we don’t realize we crave. Or qualities that actually make us feel awesome, despite having never imagined we would ever appreciate those in a partner.

I recall meeting this one man who fit my list perfectly - truly, if my list had come to life it would have been him. He was my walking list. A dream come true, right? Wrong.

Being too married to our lists, can leave us fixated on a vision we have set and cause us to miss out on the beauty of serendipitous moments and the inevitable flow of life. 

Defining your non-negotiables ...

There are some traits we need in a partner so that we can feel satisfied and fulfilled. If you've spent time self-reflecting, you'll know what those traits are. They usually revolve around elements of family planning, where you want to live, and the lifestyle you want to lead - the fundamentals that speak to your values.

Do you want children? Do you want to raise them in a certain faith? Do you want to live in a certain city?

While your essential values are important to stay true to, there may be some elements on your list that you can be flexible with.

... but remaining flexible with the rest

I recall meeting this one man who fit my list perfectly - truly, if my list had come to life it would have been him. He was my walking list. A dream come true, right? Wrong.

There was one thing that my list couldn't account for - chemistry.

Chemistry is something that you can only account for in person, and life can't account for who makes your heart beat a little faster and your smile seem permanently plastered on your face. You know the one I mean.

I have learned that the list can deprive us of people who may actually be great for us, and have qualities we don’t realize we crave.

A list has the vision of what you want, but often times life holds a much more diverse, surprising path. You may think there's one trait that's a non-negotiable, like height for example. You may want a taller guy, shorter woman, but then you meet a gem of a person who is taller or shorter than you - and you're absolutely smitten.

Who knew, right?

Or maybe the person you're into loves camping, and you thought you'd never ever (ever) sleep on the ground, but the way they smile when they're outside makes you want to get outside and relish in the beauty of it all.

Perhaps you're not super into participating in an activity they so love, but you can be comfortable with the fact that maybe it's not your thing. And be totally fine with that fact that it's their thing - they have friends for a reason, right?

Sometimes the universe has something unexpected waiting for us around the corner, and that unexpected delight may not fit our list. Recall, perfection is totally overrated, it's way better to date someone who embraces being human, who jives with your energy and matches your beautiful imperfection.

Don't miss out on something awesome because you're too stubborn to pivot.

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I like you. But first, do you like dogs?
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