I had a Memorial Day barbecue yesterday and got a chance to connect with some amazing friends. As the day wound down and the sangria pitcher drained, I started musing about dating and relationships, which is the kind of thing I do whether I’m sober or not.
It occurred to me that all of our friends are demographically similar: Attractive, fun, 30-40 years old. Writers. Directors. Marketers. Professors. Artists. MBAs. Just a solid bunch of folks.
And yet there was only one other couple at our party – everyone else was single.
So if the common denominator between my friends is that they’re single and impressive, is it possible that the reason that they’re single is BECAUSE they’re impressive?
When you have everything going for you, does it become that much harder to compromise on looks? Intelligence? Humor? Money?
Without psychoanalyzing any of my friends (since a. they didn’t ask me, and b. I’m not a shrink), I’d have to at least pose the question:
When you truly are an 8 in looks, a 9 in intelligence, a 7 in career, an 8 in humor… is it imperative to find someone as impressive as you are? Is anything less “settling”?
Believe me, I’m not one of those people who became an expert when he put a ring on his finger. After all, for most of my career, I was the single guy. Plus, it’s quite evident that married people aren’t necessarily smarter – they’re just more committed to one relationship.
But maybe it’s not just a coincidence that the cream of the crop is largely made up of “maximizers” as described in Barry Schwartz’s “The Paradox of Choice”. These folks have so much self-worth that they feel that the grass is always greener. And if they have 90% of what they’re looking for in a mate, maybe they just won’t rest until they find 94%.
Alas, as Schwartz points out in his amazing book: maximizers are rarely happy. In fact, “satisficers” – the people who are content with “less” – tend to be happier people overall.
So, is it harder for the most impressive people to find love? Would they be wiser if they learned to compromise? Are they holding out for something that doesn’t exist?
What do you think?