“So, what’s your type then?” We’ve all been asked this question before at some point in our lives. Maybe you’ve even been asked it recently. Some of you probably already have a stock answer on hand, because you know the topic will come up. It always does at some point, especially if you’re single. You might have a recurring routine that plays out whenever this question arises. You’ll reply to the question abashedly saying, “I don’t have a type.” Then a close friend will interject with “Err, yeah you do” and provide a quick overview of your type based on your history of swiping, dating, celeb crushes, relationships, friends with benefits and one-night stands.
Everyone is expected to have a type and as much as we might say we don’t, enough research into all of us will show preferences. At the very least, we know what we’d like to find or the type of person we aspire to settle down with one day. So then, you meet someone and they seemingly tick all of your boxes. You start to think that maybe the exhausting search is over, but wait! A new thought is creeping in. You don’t really know all that much about them yet, so someone has to ask and it may as well be you. Do you really like them or just the idea of them? Let’s discuss!
The Difference Between Wanting A Boy/Girlfriend and Wanting A Relationship
It’s the standard question when you’ve matched with someone on a dating app. No, not are you a Game of Thrones fan (Honestly, I don’t even need to watch it at this point, I already know the storyline because that’s all that anyone is talking about. Thanks HBO and Twitter.) The question, of course, “what are you looking for on here?” There are a range of answers (some people like to make it more complicated than it is. No one cares about your ‘spiritual journey’ mate) but, essentially, you want to find someone on the same page.
I’ve now crafted a vague answer along the lines of ‘just looking to meet new people, it all depends on the person and what vibe we have etc.” Of course, I (like many of my friends) would love to meet someone and for it to go somewhere. Let’s be honest though. I’m gonna estimate that more than half the dates we all go on will end in either nothing, a few sleepovers that eventually fizzle out or just a fun anecdote in the ole’ group chat.
Is it Even About You?
Not everyone you meet or date will be relationship potential to you. So really, there’s no reason not to be openminded about the types of encounters you’ll have in the meantime. There’s a consensus I’ve noticed (primarily with men) that if someone says they’re looking for a relationship, they immediately assume they mean a relationship with them and that they’re being led into a trap.
However, I’d much rather someone said they were looking for a relationship rather than “I want a girlfriend.” The latter, to me, makes it seem like any person will do. That it’s just a requirement to be ticked of the list of things they need to acquire at the moment. Someone who is more likely to say they want a boy/girlfriend is more likely to only need someone to project the idea of what they want on to, rather than want to build something specific with you. That distinction is a good tell of whether you really like them or just the idea of them.
First Impressions Aren’t The Whole Story
First dates. The beginning of it all. We all have a vague idea of someone before the first date. Whether that’s based on your conversation with them, their profile or some light (I hope?) social media ‘research’. No one will judge for going on a first date and, because they seem tick a few of your boxes, starting to imagine your potential future together. Truthfully, if you’ve been single for long enough (or just had a slight patch of bad luck, it happens) it can feel easy to hold onto the first person you come across that seems good on paper.
First date impressions tell you a lot, but not everything. We’re all (seemingly? Hopefully?) on our best behaviour. It’s a tiny glimpse into what they’re like. With the barest pieces of information, it can be effortless to take that and build a whole storyline in your head for the two of you. Need an example? Let’s say he has a PhD, so he’s clearly a genius and not a commitment-phobe (since he chose to study more after uni) and he’s going to pass that on to our 3 kids! It’s that simple to do!
Do You Want to Go Beyond the Superficial?
If you find yourself not really taking in a lot of what they’re saying when you’re together, just the ‘finer’ points that fit into what you’ve decided you’re looking for, chances are you like the idea of them. When you’re unsure of what you like about them that goes beyond the superficial, it may be time to have a little heart to heart with yourself. First impressions are important, but if you find that you’re basing all you know on just that or you don’t really feel you want to know more about them, then there’s a problem. When you find yourself intrigued by the first impression, wanting to take the time to get to know them better is the true sign of starting to like them.
It’s All About Genuine interest
No one wants to be alone. Movies and TV all suggest (re: blatantly state) that even the people who are happy to live independently are apparently wrong in doing so. They’re not obviously, of course they’re not! It’s their choice 100%. Life is just mainly designed with intention that you’ll share it with someone else at some point. From the cost of housing to just general living, it’s cheaper to be in a relationship. That, coupled with the perpetuating fear of not wanting to be alone can take over. With those two constantly working together, we can feel rushed to find our partner. That can make liking someone and just liking the idea of someone seem all too similar. We’re attracted to the idea of people all the time (hello celebrity crushes, I don’t actually know any of you but y’all can still get it 😉 )
What separates truly liking someone and liking the idea of someone is wanting to genuinely get to the know and being willing to put the time in to do so. You’re more interested in getting to know all sides of them, perfect or not. Anyone can fit into an idea if you try hard enough, but being interested in the real is what matters. Asking yourself what you like about them can’t hurt. Even if you find that you’re initially only interested in the vague ideas of them at first, it doesn’t mean that won’t change. It’s only if it progresses that you need to ask.
Dream vs. Reality
Just remember, liking the idea of someone raises them to a dreamlike level of a person with no flaws. Everyone wants to be loved for who they truly are, not a concept of them that you’ve come up with in your head. No one can compete with your imagination. Would you want to constantly be competing with an idealised version of yourself? Try not to put someone else in that position. Plus, who knows? The reality of them might be something beyond what you could’ve dreamed 😉