What I’m Looking For In A Guy
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Alright, I’m back with another post about being single. And while today’s topic is one that I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined I’d be posting online for the whole wide world to see, I’m feeling spontaneous and going for it. Partly because:
1. I’ve been asked the same question three times in the last week, and probably 100+ times since beginning this series — “Well what are you looking for in a guy nowadays?”
2. It’s been awhile since I’ve really sat down and thought through my answer, as it evolves a bit from year to year.
3. I think it would be quite spectacular to have this URL printed out on business cards to whip out super-fast ninja-style when someone asks the question. Boom.
So here’s my “list” on January 23, 2014. It’s probably a slightly different list than I would have given a year ago. Definitely a different list than 10 years ago. And I have no doubt that as time goes on, it will continue to evolve still. But at least for today, here’s my description for what I’m looking for in a guy (or a husband).
My freshman dorm room door, where my roommate and I posted our “list” about what we were looking for in a boyfriend. Please direct your attention to #11 — “Loves FOOD”. :)
The Infamous “Lists”
Ok, ok, you all know me. I couldn’t dive in without giving just a wee bit of background first, especially on the topic of the all too famous “lists” that single people like to make. You know, The List. The checklist about what you’re looking for in a guy or girl.
For me, they began back in the days of M.A.S.H (anyone?), which my friends and I faithfully scribbled on church bulletins each Sunday when we were supposed to be listening to the sermon. Then they evolved into high school quizzes from Seventeen and giggling slumber party lists to decide on a homecoming date. Then in college, apparently my roommate and I decided (in all of our 19-year-old wisdom) to post an actual “list” on our dorm room door about what we were looking for in a boyfriend. (To which a group of our guy friends responded with a list of their own — see above.) Then in my twenties, the lists got more serious as I would have long, heartfelt conversations with friends and mentors about what I was looking for in a husband.
And then…I got really annoyed with these kind of lists. Still probably am. But I’ll make an exception today.
To be honest, I was always a bit of an “old soul” as a kid and never really got swept up in celebrity crushes or unrealistic dreams about what sort of guy I’d actually want to marry. (Well, with the exception of Tim Riggins. The door’s always open for you, Taylor Kitsch.) But without a doubt, my “list” has still evolved over the years, especially as I have watched many, many friends get married and walk through their first decade or two of marriage together — more often than not to amazing spouses who did not precisely fit their lists. In fact, based on that I’m now pretty much expecting the unexpected if I meet a great guy. (I know, just watch me marry someone who’s obsessed with outdoor camping and and cars and cats.)
But to be honest, my wish list for a guy is now much shorter than it used to be. Mostly because I’ve learned how to sort out what the “negotiables” and “non-negotiables” are for me. Some of those lessons come from dating and watching friends’ relationships, but most come from getting to know myself. I’m far from looking for Prince Charming, knowing that I’m certainly not Princess Charming all the time. :) But I’d like to think there’s a guy out there who could be a cool fit for me, and me for him, and that we could spend a marriage learning (key word – learning) how to love one another really well and bring out the best in each other.
So anyway, for inquiring minds who might want to know, here’s my list.
I’m looking for a guy who is:
Like, naturally kind. Not kind just because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, or because he thinks it will benefit him in some way, but deep-down kind.
I think my standards for this come from being raised in the Midwest where — maybe I’m biased — I think we seem to have a surplus of these kind of guys. They are the guys who genuinely want to know how you are doing. They are the guys who lend a hand or give to help someone without thinking twice. They are the guys who quite simply have what I think of as “character”, who you trust and really want to be around.
It’s a hard one to explain, but when I meet a guy who I feel is genuinely kind, it is one of the most attractive things to me. Actually, I’d probably go so far as to say it’s the most attractive thing to me.
2. A Good Conversationalist
Alternative title for this one? That awesome mix of Smart + Curious + Thoughtful.
I believe all of those things come together to form a good conversationalist, which is a total non-negotiable for me. Actually, let’s frame that more positively — I absolutely adore a guy I enjoy talking to.
I know girls sometimes get a bad rap for being the ones who always “want to talk”. But I quite frankly can’t imagine marrying a guy who doesn’t want to talk. The coolest guys I know (and have dated) are the ones who love the art of conversation, and are always interested in really getting to know people and what’s happening in the world. And who don’t shy away from a good conversation.
I mean, let’s be real. Looks? Sex? Careers? Hair? There are so many things about relationships that probably won’t be a major factor when we’re both 80. But being able to look each other in the eye and talk about the big, the small, the serious, the funny, the difficult, the exciting, the hopeful things about life? Call me crazy, but that’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to in a marriage. To have a guy I love to talk to as we begin our relationship together, all the way until we’re holding hands talking in a nursing home as we end our lives together? That’s something I dream about.
And all the better if he’s a bit of a funny lad, since I tend to take life a little (ok, a lot) too seriously at times. ;)
3. A Thoughtful Christian
People might assume that this is an obvious one on the list for me, but it’s probably the most nuanced of them all. Or maybe it’s the most straightforward of them all. Basically, I consider myself a Christian, and would love to find a guy who says the same. Quite simply, I’m looking to marry a guy who’s interested in learning how to follow Jesus.
That said, I’m well aware that the “C” word encompasses a vast array of people with different backgrounds, different traditions, different viewpoints (theologically, politically, relationally, you name it), and more. And to each, his or her own. Faith is such a personal thing, and I have full respect for how everyone lives that out in a way that’s true to who they are. But for me, I’m looking for a guy who is quite simply — as Jesus said — really interested in seeking to love the Lord and his neighbor as himself. Someone who gets that life is not always black and white, but who believes that there is a purpose and hope and Creator behind it all. Someone who prays, someone who is a part of a community seeking to follow Christ, and someone who humbly wants to learn and serve Him.
That said, this one is probably the one item on the list that whittles down the pool of guys out there the most, because I’m not just looking for a guy who goes to church. Or who checks the “Christian” box on Match.com. I’m looking for a guy who really and thoughtfully lives a life of faith, and often those guys seem harder to find.
But that said, I know plenty of awesome guys out there like this who exist — who are inquisitive, and hopeful, and open-minded, and honest, and real about faith — and anytime I’m around them I’m reminded how important and attractive and exciting that sort of faith is to me. Especially those who have really wrestled with faith and have come out still wrestling but worshipping. So forgive me if I’m not articulating it well, but this is something I just really hope and look for in a guy. (And big bonus if he lives in KC and can come to my church, which is just about my favorite place on earth. But I know, I know, that’s a “negotiable”. I’m flexible too.) :)
You didn’t think I’d leave this one off the list, did you?!
Heck yes! I never been one of those girls to just look for a guy who has a “great personality”. I want a guy who I’m attracted to. Or really, let’s be real, a guy who I want to kiss.
I went through that stage in my early twenties when I thought that the noble thing to do was give guys a “chance” with dating, even if there was zero chemistry. But that didn’t last long, because I’m pretty much convinced that physical attraction is a must in getting things started. Sure, it can grow the more you get to know someone, but there has to be at least something there to start with. And after being single this long, I damn well hope that I find a guy who makes my heart beat a little faster when I see him. :)
That said, though, anything on a “list” for physically attraction has become pretty much negotiable. 10 years ago, I would have said tall, dark, handsome and skinny. (Yep, was always drawn to the basketball players.) Nowadays, I’d just say someone I find attractive, who is at least a few inches taller than me. I know. Height should probably be on the negotiable list, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t have to be.
I feel like it should also be noted that as I get older, I tend to find more guys attractive whom I might not have considered years ago. But the fact still remains that some guys are more attractive to me, and others are more attractive to others. It all somehow seems to miraculously balance out in the world. But I’m definitely looking for a guy who I can tell my friends I think is “cute”.
5. Someone Who’s Been Through Something Tough
Ok, this one may sound weird. But I kind of hope that I find someone who has been through something difficult in life. Not that I wish that on anyone, but I feel that things like heartbreak, loss, pain, injury, grief, and disappointment have this way of shaping us like nothing else in life. And — in a weird way, I would love to meet someone who has been through that.
Partly because I’d love to know that they have some sort of grid for navigating through rough times if (make that when) they come for us as a couple, and that they won’t run away. But also because I think that tough times build character, and I’m looking for someone who doesn’t fear the worst but knows how to press through and find goodness on the other side.
See? I told you I was way too realistic for my own good. But the interesting thing about being single in your thirties is that I’ve not only had the chance to watch friends go through their first years of marriage, but I’ve watched them also walk through really rough times and separation and divorce and know how confusing and difficult those times can be. And how helpful it is when someone knows a bit what it’s like before something terrible happens. Not to say that someone who has lived a charmed life can’t have character or perseverance or faith or strength to make it through. But I would prefer to date and marry someone who has been there at least once before.
The good news about dating in your thirties is that I think those sort of people outweigh the others, thanks to good ol’ time.
6. A Traveler
This one could arguably be on the “negotiable” list, but I really really hope that it isn’t. I would love to marry a man who loves to travel!!!
I think this ties back into #2, as someone who’s curious. The older I get, the more I really want to make traveling and seeing the world a priority in my life. I know that different seasons bring opportunities for travel, and Disney World or a trip to visit the grandparents might be the most realistic option when you have young kids. But even then, I hope to budget time and money in my life to go places. And I’d love a guy who wants to do the same.
7. Wants Kids
The thing I didn’t quite expect about turning 30 was seeing the possibility of having kids called into question. I know I’m still “young”, or so I’m told, but it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the past few months. And while I’m working really hard on starting to make myself “go there” and really think through and come to peace with the reality of what my life would be like if I don’t get the opportunity to have kids, it has also made me realize how much I still do hope to have kids.
So if I get married at an age when that’s possible, I really hope to marry a guy who’s on the same page with that as well. Parenthood freaks me out, but it would be an honor and a true gift to get to try it out, especially with a great guy as our kids’ dad.
- his family — very important, no matter how awesome or dysfunctional they may be
- his job — would really love a guy who enjoys and finds meaning in what he does for a living
- to serve — volunteering, raking leaves for the neighbors, helping with dishes, you name it — service is sexy
- to give — especially time and money, freely and thoughtfully
- food!!! — I mean, hello, I need a taste-tester!
- lukewarm food — although let’s be real, most of the blog food I eat is lukewarm after photographing :)
- to have fun — someone who really knows how to laugh and enjoy life is a must
9. Someone I Really Like!
And respect. And admire. And think is rad. And just in general enjoy being with.
I’ve dated plenty of guys who quite simply didn’t fully fit that bill. I didn’t really like them. And it wasn’t fun. And it wasn’t worth the time away from my friends. So until I find a guy who I really like, you get to enjoy more single posts from the ol’ blog. But I’m hoping that there’s some guy out there who I’ll really like who might change that eventually. I guess we will see. :)
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but that seems close enough for now.
I will say, I never thought I’d be making a “list” for a guy at age 30. But I guess the good news is that I at least like this list much better than the one I had a decade ago. So for all inquiring minds, I hope you enjoy it.
(And please know that this is NOT a call for you to go emailing this post to any and all single men you know. I’m doing just fine.) :)
So to all of you single and married and “in a relationship” folks — what is on your lists? What life experiences would you add to this conversation?
Here are my other posts about being single: