What Do You Bring To The Table?

young blonde woman holding baked cookies

Blogger BbSezMore recently wrote that when she was single, she never stopped to think about what she offered to a man, other than love. “It seemed so simple back then: if you loved someone, and they loved you back, then it all worked out. Game, set, match.”

These days, everyone want to know: “What’s in it for me???”

She advocates making a list of what you’re offering a potential partner. According to Bb, your answer can only contain what men find desirable:

—feminine qualities (appearance, demeanor, etc.)
—behaviors (how you would act in a relationship)

Essentially, your list should reflect your best qualities, and that is what you should be offering to a partner. Is what you are offering equal to what you are expecting?

Do you consider what you have to offer your dates, or merely what your dates are offering YOU? Read the post here and share your insights in the comments.

Join our conversation (24 Comments).
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  1. 1

    This is a great article. I have female friends that have these long lists of requirements for a man. But in return other then love and sex they didnt really offer a man anything. This worked when the man was the bread winner and the woman took care of the household, but now that isnt the case anymore woman need to reevaluate things.

  2. 2

    Excellent post! This is sooo true for many people. Do you really have enough to offer compared to what you want? I am not talking about looks here and such, although that needs to be considered as well. This makes me think of some guy I know. He is a textbook player, yet he keeps looking for that sweet, honest, faithful, beautiful, intelligent and confident woman EVERY man wants. He is a selffish jerk though. He did go on a date with that type of woman the other day and they kissed. Ever since then she has refused to keep in touch – he felt crushed. I think what happened is she did figure him out. She saw what he was like and now is no longer interested. Him posting intimate party pictures on Facebook where he’s friends with her won’t help. Him speaking disrespectfully of women he doesn’t consider worthy of his attention won’t help.I tried to explain that to him but he won’t listen. He keeps messing with women, saying that for the right one he will change, but just not yet until he actually starts dating the right one. Only that he will never be with the girl of his dreams. If he finds a girl who is willing to date him with most of the qualities described above, she will probably have low self esteem – not desirable. That type of woman he is looking for will never go out with a guy like him. He either changes for real or will continue dating women just as emotionally unstable and selfish as he is!

  3. 3

    The author of the article says before she made her list all she ever thought she needed to bring to the party was herself and love. I thought her list was what love is– or a big part of it. If love isn’t respect, support, acceptance, and maintenance, then what exactly IS love?

  4. 4

    Evan, thank you so much for linking to my article! I hope that people find it helpful.
    @Kenley, the question for me wasn’t so much what love IS, but how I treat a man when I’m in a relationship with him. Yes, those two things are aligned for me (and for you, too!), but it’s also true that a woman could love a man and still be disrespectful and unsupportive. Love, to some people, is merely a feeling, not an action.  

  5. 5

    I came to this realization a long time ago so yes I did think about what I had to bring to a relationship. I bring a whole damn lot I must say. Anyways, I had a teacher once say relationships are two way streets so that has stuck with me and that’s probably why I realized this early on.

  6. 6
    Evan Marc Katz

    Thanks for writing, Bb. I think it’s smart for both men and women to take stock of what they bring to the table in terms of what appeals to the opposite sex. Sounds to me like you’ve got a good thing going and I’m confident you’re going to make some man very happy for the rest of his life.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. 7

    Great post Bb, and thanks for linking Evan 🙂  

  8. 8

    Great articler!
    You’re right.   Sadly there are some people who don’t know what love is.   They think its just a feeling, when in reality its the actions that really count.   You have to show by your actions that you love someone.   That means treating them the way that you want to be treated.  

  9. 9

    It’s important to reinforce the point regarding what a person brings to the table in the the context of dating and relationships.
    What do you bring to the table that is important to him?
    What do you bring to the table that is important to her?

    1. 9.1

      Yes Andrew, I was thinking the same thing, Everybody doesn’t want the same thing brought to the table. What type of table are we putting these things on. I have a friend always talking about what he want’s a woman to bring to the table. He has it all twisted. Never once mentioned love. The more I got to know him, the more I realized, out of all the assets he has (material) and he is a nice guy, But, he has trouble seeing (driving) in the dark, major allergies, type two diabetes (not fat) that he may eventually need a kidney for, a son in jail, his mother living with him, as well as an adult sister, two dogs, etc..So when we say what are you bring to the table. Make sure you are able to bring most of the same things including transparency. “Health & Wellness” is very important. That is something I would want to know before I dive in. “Love” is a choice. So be transparent so I can make the right choice for us both.

      1. 9.1.1

        a lot of those are “life” things that could happen to anyone. If this guy is in his 40s, then he isn’t even doing too badly.

        I would not consider the majority of those a deal-breaker, nor would plenty of quality women; we’re not all shallow and we ourselves are not all in perfect health, with perfect lives. I’m middle aged and by this time, most of us have had a few bumps along the way – this guy might be a catch, given that you didn’t mention anything such as debt, an ex-wife, custody issues, bankruptcy, addiction, or for that matter, health conditions that he brought on himself. Many of us have had parents or family members come to live with us by our fourties to fifties. Not all of our kids turn out perfectly.

        The person you can muddle through with, and still laugh with, is the one many of us want.

  10. 10

    @Bb, Yes, as I said in a response to EMK’s recent post on emotional intimacy:

    Here’s the thing — on the one hand, love is a noun. It is the name of a feeling that we have when we are around another person or think about them. This is often what we think love is, but the truth of the matter is that this feeling can be elicited in any number of situations, as a response to a variety of stimuli. It is also a feeling that can be deliberately provoked in us by someone who doesn’t necessarily feel the same way.
    On the other hand, love is a verb. It is a thing that you do. It is the way you treat someone even when you disagree with them. It is overlooking the small stuff because you have the things that matter. It is fidelity when you’re bored, forgiveness when you’re still irritated, the recognition that you’re not a perfect partner all the time, either. It is doing your best because you know they are.
    If you have the feeling, but aren’t willing to perform the action, you don’t really love the person, do you? And if someone says they have the feeling for you, but don’t take the actions that matter, they don’t really love you, do they?
    To be satisfied with having the feeling but not be willing to perform the actions is to have a juvenile, self-centered definition of love, isn’t it? To perform the action when you know you will not receive a feeling of safety and being cherished in return is kind of an abuse-oriented, victim’s mentality, isn’t it?
    The biggest mistake people have with love is to assume the noun is enough. It’s not. The second biggest mistake people have with love is to assume that the verb will automatically inspire the other person to reciprocate. It won’t.
    When you find yourself in a situation where you’re unhappy, ask yourself, what’s missing — the noun, or the verb? Who’s missing it? Then remember, if the other person is the one who’s deficient, you can’t change other people. If he’s not feeling it, if he won’t take action for you, you can’t make him. You can only leave. OTOH, if he’s doing everything right, is there really something wrong with him? Or are you standing in the way of your own happiness?    

  11. 11

    I think about this (what I bring to the table and whether it meets my own expectations in a man) all the time. It’s sad to me that some people don’t. Seems pretty intuitive!  
    (With that said, I’m really glad this article was written and that you linked to it!)

  12. 12

    Honey I cant agree more.

  13. 13

    @Greg, a lot of people don’t know what love is because it’s never been modeled well to them, or they’ve never experienced it themselves. As corny as it sounds, I try my best to be as loving as possible to as many people as I can. It’s the easiest way I know to be a positive influence.
    @Honey, I like what you said. You should blog, too!
    @Evan, not sure if it was clear, but I am married. My husband and I do our best to to make each other happy–we’re definitely in it for the long haul! 😉

  14. 14

    @Bb, I’m retired from the bloggy world, but my friend Lance still posts!   Actually, I do every once in awhile, too 🙂   Check us out!

  15. 15

    Too bad blogs like this are for older crowds. This should be handed out to the masses. People always wait until its too late to think about things like this. I too don’t understand how woman make these long long lists about a potential partner but they themselves aren’t much.

    If you want a man that makes good money and is the breadwinner allowing you to stay at home and keep house the you had better have your cooking, cleaning, and child raising skills top notch. Its only fair.

    Im going to have a career and I want a career driven partner as well. I definitely don’t bring a ton of traditional feminine qualities to the table but I do bring self sufficiency, reliability, loyalty, emotional stability, nurturing etc. I think thats pretty solid.  

    Oh, I forgot. I also bring a whole lot of earning potential. Thats sexy too.  

  16. 16

    @Honey, words of wisdom ! So enjoyed reading your post.

  17. 17

    @Honey. I   missed your response to EMK’s post on emotional intimacy   –   would you kindly repost, I would love to read it.
    Kitcat x

  18. 18

    What do you do if you make that list and think what you bring is weak?

  19. 19

    Hello everyone, and thank you. I’m a male, divorced and while recently dating I encountered the question. I was thrown of guard and did not know how to answer. You comments have surely helped me in that I better understand how to approach dating and what to expect. Also I enjoyed the explanation of the noun and verb of the word LOVE.

  20. 20

    Wow how very  narcissistic!! I guess this whole you must have money and the material things or you’re going to be alone forever.   No wonder the divorce rate is so high!! What ever happen to dating someone because you like them, or is every one just chasing after the wallet. My question is “What would you do if you or your spouse lost their job, would you go seeking for someone else because money is more important?”   Or what about if your spouse ends up with cancer or something that is life changing and was not able to work, would you take care of them ,or would you seeking some other wallet and what someone else can bring to the table? If you are going on dates with this ” What can you bring to the table or what benefits me,” I think you will never be happy with someone because the only thing you love is the material things.  Would you want someone to choose a relationship with you just because of the outward things that you bring to the table. The things that can change the stuff (material things) they can have. If you did not maintain the stuff, would you still be in the relationship? If you gained weight, lost your hair and did not make as much money, would you want your relationship to end? No, you would want and hope you had something deeper; you would want someone who cared for you deeper than just the stuff. Good luck to you all and thinking that someone is just an investment, and you will never know what true love is.  

    I still believe in love, respect, honesty,trust and loyalty. Most of you won’t know what that is because if someone don’t have money you can’t be with them.  

    1. 20.1

      lots of people (both women and men) are financially successful, fit, etc, but still can’t find or keep a partner, because they have no idea what constitutes actual relationship currency, and they dont being anything else to the table except for their money. This thread is kind of a testament to that.

      Heck, most couples I ever see, consist of average looking people who have average-at-best jobs.

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