How To Transform Your Frog Into A Prince

You ever go out with a guy who is completely clueless?

He starts talking about his evil ex on your first date.

He rambles on about his latest boring business deal.

He flirts with the waitress a little too much.

Truly, it’s easy to find fault with male behavior.  Guys are really easy targets.

But a man’s ability to court says nothing of his ability to be a good husband and father.

So before we dismiss every guy who does something stupid, let’s consider how to make the most of dating. Not every clueless guy is a bad guy, I promise you.

Once you learn how to bring out the best in him, you can transform a frog into a prince.

As a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, I hear all sorts of stories about male misbehavior. My clients are very passionate about the ways in which they’ve been disappointed by men. And I don’t blame them.

Lots of guys suck.

Not every clueless guy is a bad guy, I promise you.

But not all of them.

And if you find that every flaw that a guy could have is a potential deal breaker, you’ve pretty much ensured that no man could qualify to be your partner.

That’s not what you want. So how can you make a slight adjustment, without losing yourself, without “settling”?

Liza is in her late thirties and has been frustrated by what she perceives as an overall male cluelessness. No guy is chivalrous enough. No guy is successful enough. No guy is interesting enough. No guy follows up in the right way. In short, no guy can please her.

Before working with me, Liza would go out on date after date, hating the process, dissecting the men, and wondering what’s wrong with all of the guys in her city.

Then I asked her a tough question.

“Why are you focusing on only your date’s negative qualities?”

“Well, what else am I supposed to focus on?” she replied.  “He’s supposed to pay for my dinner. He’s supposed to pick me up. He’s supposed to tell me I’m attractive. Why should I reward him for just doing what he’s supposed to do?”

“I suppose you can look at it that way”, I said. “But what if he focused exclusively on your negative qualities?”

“Like what?” Liza replied, with a laugh.

“I don’t know. Maybe you could tell me. If I were to talk to all of your ex-boyfriends, what do they know about you that I might not?

“Well, I can be a little bit judgmental. I also have kind of a short temper.”

“Okay…What else?”

Liza paused, thinking this through, deciding how much to reveal.

“I don’t enjoy crowds, concerts or malls. I tend to obsess about my work. I’m not always the cheeriest or most optimistic person in the world.”

“Fair enough…Anything else?”

“I don’t like trying new foods. My boobs are too small and my butt is too big. And, although you’ll never catch me admitting this on a date, I have herpes.”

I thanked Liza for her honesty and reminded her that all of these perceived “flaws” just made her a normal human being.

They don’t negate her great qualities – her sharp wit, her fearless ambition, her loyalty to her family. They’re just another layer – a layer that any man who is going to date her has to be able to handle.

And if each man were to focus exclusively on Liza’s flaws and ignore her incredible assets, he’d really be missing out. Wouldn’t he?

Liza sighed, taking this all in.

“I’m missing out on some pretty decent guys, aren’t I?”

I’m not saying that you’re horribly flawed – no more than anybody else. I am suggesting that a fundamental shift in thinking is essential when it comes to long-term relationships.

It wasn’t until I got in touch with my own humility that I learned to appreciate my wife for all that she is, rather than wishing she were someone that she wasn’t.

This is how we go through life.

The next time you go on a date, do your best to focus on the things you like about him, not the things that you don’t.

We know that we don’t want to be judged, but we can’t help judging others.

It’s like we’re looking at a hunk of Swiss cheese and instead of focusing on the cheese, we focus exclusively on the holes.

It’s a glass-half-empty view of life and it’s a big reason you have trouble connecting with men.

You see them as a sum total of their flaws instead of their positive traits. No wonder you can’t find anyone good enough. Each man is dissected like a lab rat!

Learning to accentuate the positive and get in touch with my own humility was a major breakthrough for me.

Instead of assuming that women would be naturally impressed by me, I started to be conscious of my own flaws. Not obsessed by them. Not weighed down by them.

I was just more aware that any woman has to put up with my bad qualities and that she won’t always be dazzled by my good ones.

So when I met my wife and I started to dissect her – a little older, not as well-read, not as ambitious – I forced myself to remember that I wasn’t always a prize myself.

For example, I’m moody and neurotic and can’t fix a single thing in the house.

And there’s a lot more where that came from.

What I realized was that my wife knows all of this – and yet she focuses on my good qualities instead.

I’m sure she still gets exasperated when I complain about my bad hip, or when there’s a toilet stopped and I have to call a plumber, but she doesn’t make me feel bad about it.

The next time you go on a date, do your best to focus on the things you like about him, not the things that you don’t.

After all, you would want him to do the very same thing, wouldn’t you?

When you start to treat a frog more like a prince, he actually BECOMES more like a prince – and can start living up to your expectations.

When you focus exclusively on his flaws, all you end up seeing are his flaws.

And what man sticks around with a woman who finds fault with everything he does?

Certainly not the smart, strong, successful man that you desire.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Christina

    Yes! Thank you yet again. It seems many of us expect perfection while being far from perfect ourselves.

  2. 2
    Raymond Bork

    Most of us hardly ever think about our negative points and the effect on others. Being aware of our own negative traits would be very beneficial to our relationships in general. Be it with co workers, friends, or our partners.
    It took me many years to finally realize I had been treating women appallingly. I was insensitive to their feelings, and deep down i was only really interested in my well being.  I actually imagined I had been good to them.
    My wife must have put up with a lot from me all those years ago. Today we enjoy a genuinely warm amazing relationship, because I stopped being selfish.

  3. 3
    Ellen

    Nice coinky dinky Evan!….My email signature right now! People deal too much with the negative,
    with what is wrong…
    Why not just try to see positive things,
    to just touch those things
    and make them bloom?

    -Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk (and beautiful spirit).

  4. 4
    my honest answer

    It’s so true! I have so many single friends who rule men out for wearing an ugly shirt, or for having bad hair, or no hair at all, and the truth is, everyone can do with a bit of polishing. That said, beware you’re not just papering over the cracks. Small things can be changed, but his personality is his personality. Whatever shirt he wears.

  5. 5
    Lisa M.

    Ladies, please listen to your gut and trust your own instincts.  If a guy makes you feel uncomfortable and you sense that something is off — it usually is.  I have never gone out with a guy I wasn’t attracted to in some way or the other.  I don’t waste my time like that.  So if I accepted an invitation to go out on a date with a guy it’s because I’m very interested.   No one I know hates dating more than me.  If a guy sets off my alarms… he’s gone.  I’ve ignored my gut feelings a few times in the past and wasted time.  I know better now. 

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Lisa “No one I know hates dating more than me.”

      May I ask why you’re here then? Because my advice generally tries to provide perspective, motivation and hope for women, yet every comment of yours pretty much contradicts mine.

      Do you simply enjoy raining on others’ parades? I honestly don’t get why you’d tarnish an optimistic post about self-awareness with another “guys are creepy” comment.

  6. 6
    david

    Liza has the same problem a friend of mine has — she has a rules about how men should act on a date and respond to her romantically — a guy just builds up infractions over very minor things — like I told my (still single and still frustrated friend), “No guy has the rule book you have in your head.”

  7. 7
    Ruby

    The problem I have with this is that some of the behaviors mentioned might make me think a guy wasn’t that into me. If a man rambled on about a boring business deal, i could live with that, but if he rambled on and on about his ex? That might raise a red flag. If he flirted with the waitress? Again, I’d have to question that. I don’t expect a man to be perfect, but i do expect courtesy and consideration. 

    If a few too many issues pop up on the first date, it does plant seeds of doubt in my mind. In the past, when i have overlooked the fact that amy date flirted with the waitress, for example, I’ve ended up regretting it. 

    Please note that I am not talking about superficial things like a man wearing an ugly shirt, nor am I saying that I myself am perfect. But i know enough not to drone on and on about my ex, or to flirt with other men in front of my date. 

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Ruby – Did it occur to you that a man flirts with a waitress simply because he has a flirtatious personality, the same personality that women find attractive? Did it occur to you that he’s telling you the story about his ex because he’s in touch with his feelings and you’ve exhibited the qualities that made him feel comfortable sharing them with you? That’s my point entirely. It’s not that it’s cool for a guy to talk about his ex, it’s that it’s not necessarily a sign that there’s something wrong with him. Because telling you about my broken divorce and sharing my disappointment is a far cry from “I want my ex-wife back”. You have to allow for the former and dismiss the latter, the same as you’d like a guy to ignore your first-date faux pas, I presume.

  8. 8
    Ruby

    EMK #9

    I guess it is a matter of degree. A story about a man’s ex wouldn’t bother me, but anger about what a “psycho-bitch” the ex was, would. My own problem in the past hasn’t been not cutting a man enough slack, it’s been making too many excuses, but that’s my personal issue.

  9. 9
    Texasgal

    I agree with Evan as this has been a real struggle for me. After much introspection I discovered that my tendency to dissect men and discount them for silly reasons was my way of protecting myself. Because of my own trust issues, I truly expected each of them to reject me. By rejecting them first, I got to feel like I was in control. Let’s just say my approach resulted in a frustrating dating experience. Now that I’ve let go of the trust/control issues my dating life has turned around completely. I hope other women are able to learn this lesson sooner than I did :)

  10. 10
    Margo

    Evan says: “It’s like we’re looking at a hunk of Swiss cheese and instead of focusing on the cheese, we focus exclusively on the holes.”

    This is a good article. The above quote does a good job of getting the point across. 

    I will say I’d have a hard time accepting an incurable STD though. 

  11. 11
    Judy

    Good article, and yes focussing on the positive is a good thing. The hard part for me is finding the fine line between misunderstood behavior and a red flag. Some are obviously obvious, but others make me question myself am I too judgemental or am I just too forgiving? Evan, please keep guiding us to reach intelligent decisions. The example of the flirtatious behavior with the waitress is a good one, it makes you see both sides of the coin.

  12. 12
    A-L

    I think we all need to be reminded of our flaws, as a good lesson in humility is valuable in all aspects of life. 

    But as far as the title of this post goes, I thought it would be more about positive reinforcement than about changing one’s perspective.  For instance, if a guy does something you really like, but it’s not commonplace for him to do it, then you let him know how happy you were that he did it.  The guy sees how pleased you are, and wants to please you, and so does the desired action more frequently.  Therefore becoming the prince you always wanted.  As David said in #6, no man has the rule book in your head. 

  13. 13
    nathan

    A-L – I don’t know about you, but I’m all too aware of my flaws. In fact, if anything, I might worry about some of them more than necessary. But I suppose that isn’t the case for everyone, and it’s true that being aware of your flaws can help maintain a sense of humility.
    Ruby, I think we’re all given to mistaken understandings of behavior that happens on the first few dates, maybe even longer. I rarely flirt all that much on first dates, and also am reserved about physical contact in general on first dates. This definitely changes once I’m dating someone, but I don’t do lots of affection and flirting with strangers. It’s  just not how I am. I’m positive some women have seen this as a sign of disinterest, even when I was interested. If I’m interested, I will ask more questions about a woman’s life, listen to her stories, look her in the eyes, pay close attention to details, try and get another date set up promptly, etc. But all of that is less obvious than blatant flirting, touching, kissing, and the rest.
    The thing is that so many of us are out of touch with our gut sense, intuition, or whatever you wish to call it, that we end up running our lives based on the horrors reported in newspapers, or the stories our friends and family tell us, or some research we read online or in a class. All of that might offer some helpful pointers, but none of it will give you a full picture of the person sitting across from you on that date. Lisa M. talks about guys setting off “her alarms” – and given how negative many of her comments about dating seem to be, I have to wonder if those alarms are realistic insights about the men she’s dating, or fabrications based on what she thinks men are all about.
    Guys do this kind of crap too, so I’m not just picking on Lisa or women here. We’d all do well to spend more time actually observing what’s going on with someone while on a date, and delay our judgements and decisions – especially on someone who has some of the qualities you’re looking for and for whom you feel some attraction to.
     
     
     

    1. 13.1
      Clare

      I agree with you, Nathan.

      I am always super skeptical of someone who says that another person “set off their alarms” without being able to provide a concrete reason as to why.

      Much of what we perceive as flaws in others are actually just projections of what we dislike in ourselves, or our unconscious biases or fears.

      As a wise person I know is fond of saying, bring things back to yourself first. Be aware of what’s going on with yourself first before looking at the other person.

  14. 14
    Lisa M.

    Evan, I feel that this blog is more male friendly because the viewpoints appear to cater to men more than it does to women and that’s just my in opinion.  And that’s fine it’s your house. I have very strong opinions as everyone here knows by now.  I sometimes forget that many blogs tend to cater to a particular veiwpiont. And that often means preaching to the choir in which I am not good at.  I’m a very independent thinker and I tend to think outside the box, so this blog is probably not a good fit for a woman like me. 

    Thanks for allowing to share my opinions and experiences.

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Lisa M (for the last time)

      My viewpoints don’t cater to men more than women. My viewpoint, to borrow a phrase, attempts to be fair and balanced. You just seem to want a blog that caters to your narrative that men are bad and women are good. Whenever I offer advice to a woman about how she could adjust, certain women (like you) invariably come back with the “what about men?!” line. This is largely a blog read by women, not men.

      The only way it’s “male friendly” is that it’s written by a man who believes deeply that your reflexive male-blaming is a terribly ineffective strategy if you want to make a long-term connection with a man.

      Honestly, you should find a site that agrees with your worldview, because you’re not going to get any validation for man-hating here.

  15. 15
    Callie

    Good points over all, Evan. Once again I think you are spot-on in pointing that a lot of what some people call “settling” is just being realistic about all of us having imperfections.

    However, I find the distincation between treating a men like a ‘prince’ but not ‘putting him on a pedestal’ somewhat confusing to put into practice personally…. 

  16. 16
    Rob

    @17 Pedestal means pretend there are no imperfections.  The man becomes perfect in your mind, while you build up subconscious resentments. These leak out in small ways that keep both of you less than happy.  Or you turn a blind eye to egregious mistreatment and eventually get hurt.
    Prince means acknowledging his faults but deciding you accept  and can love him as he is, knowing you can live those imperfections for keeps. (You might not have to, but you have to be prepared that you will).

  17. 17
    Margo

    @ Ruby no. 8, the way you handle the flirting is you tell him once that you don’t like it. If he does it again, he’s gone.

  18. 18
    Liz

    @ Lisa M. – Hating men, hating dating, and being convinced that the world is against you is not “thinking outside the box.”

  19. 19
    Ruby

    Margo #19

    Flirtatiousness by itself wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but in my ex’s particular case, this was only one of a number of issues. He isn’t a bad guy, and we’re still friends, but he wasn’t a great boyfriend. Still, I was willing to tolerate his faults because I knew he had other great qualities, which is why I have trouble relating to EMK’s picky client.

    I think we get so many mixed messages about dating, from He’s Just Not That into You (subtitled The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys), to watch out, if you are too picky, you might wind up alone. Perhaps there is a middle ground somewhere? 

  20. 20
    Margo

    @Liz no. 20, Lisa M. never said she hated men. She’s just tired of the selfishness, and unsavory character that MANY men display in the dating world. This is what makes dating tiresome for women.

    What has surprised me on this thread is the number of posters who would accept cheating because their significant other has other “favorable” qualities.

    Cheating partners have been characterized as “good” people. That’s an oxymoron. There are no “good cheaters”. The man/woman made a concious decison to take their clothes off and have sex with another person. They didn’t just fall between someone’s legs as if by mistake.

    And, no, I’ve never been cheated on as far as I’m aware. If I were, I wouldn’t be so accepting of such a transgression.

  21. 21
    vanessa

    Wow @ Lisa M.
    Retract your claws girl.  Perhaps you’ve been choosing the wrong guys and rejecting the right ones?
    It’s important to learn from your experiences, but don’t expect each man to be so evil straight from the get-go.  It’s like you’re looking for the flaws.
    Hopefully, one day you can be vulnerable and still feel safe with the right man who will protect you and cherish you (so you won’t have to do it all yourself).

  22. 22
    Laine

    If a man goes out with me on a date and he has a flirtatious nature, then I would like him to flirt with me, not the waitress.

  23. 23
    Steve

    I think what Evan posted was a tactful way of saying that his clients tend to be impractically  perfectionist and that they tend to have an inflated image of their appeal.   Messages many people need to hear in this age of narcissism.
     
    Small things should be let go of, but I don’t think make major habit patterns are likely to change.  EMK made that point many times previously.  The trick is to have some sort of judgement over what can be and is likely to change before taking the route of making a person into a project.
     

  24. 24
    david

    I don’t see how this blog “caters” to men if the advice is supposed to help women (and women seem to be the most readers and blog posters) and evan’s whole approach is to help smart, strong women in / with dating

  25. 25
    Sherell

    Its also called growing up and being a positive person  Some people go thru life seeing the glass half empty, but many others can be shown a better perspective.  As you grow up you realize life is complex:  with lots of grey, not black and white.  You give people and situations the benefit of the doubt initialy.  Makes like easier and more enjoyable IMO

  26. 26
    Sherell

    Some folk are meant to go through life miserable!  Any you know what?  Just let them!!!

    1. 26.1
      DinaStrange

      That was a truly positive comment :) lol

  27. 27
    BeenThereDoneThat

    Nathan
    I am like you in that I’m reserved and proper on a first date and not touchy/feely.  As i get to know people better, my teasing side comes out more.  I’m sure many of my first dates wonder if I am into them but I always try to be engaging.  Conversation usually comes naturally to me.  I think a guy is into me not because he flirted or touched me on a first date; but because he asks me out again, calls me, etc.  The very things you do are the things that show me he is interested.  Just flirting with me, holding my hand – those are “in the moment” things.
     
    I am wondering because I am not a naturally flirty person, especially in a first date context (I’ve been told that I flirt very well with people I am not interested in or am when we are just friends), what kinds of things can I do to show I am interested?

  28. 28
    hunter

    Men wear ugly shirts???..Really???hhhmmhh..

  29. 29
    Liz

    @Margo – Wait, what does this thread have to do with cheating? I missed the cheating aspect.

  30. 30
    A-L

    RE: Nathan‘s #15

    Well, I guess I’m like the narcissistic people that Steve was talking about because I rarely focus on my flaws.  Granted, I’ve worked to try and minimize them (or at least how they are displayed), but a reminder is never a bad thing. 

    RE: Margo‘s #22

    I think you’re mixing this thread up with the infidelity one.  Your word choice was quite interesting when you said “cheating partners.”  I was talking with someone about how others are described.  When someone says “poor people” or “black people” or “stupid people” the emphasis is on that characteristic that makes them different (poor, black, stupid).  But when it’s rephrased as “people who are poor” or “people who are black” or “people who are stupid” the focus remains on their humanity, with the other descriptor as secondary. 

    And I think that’s the key here.  Your focus is on them as a cheater.  Others focus on the individual as a person.  Good people can make mistakes.  Defining a person by one mistake is rather short-sighted as well.  Would you like everyone to think of you only in terms of one mistake you may have made at some point in your life?  Or as Evan talks about in this post, would you like them to give you the benefit of the doubt and see you as a whole person with both good and bad qualities? 

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