“So what are you looking for?”
It’s a question all-too-commonly asked on a first date. In fact, the question may have been posed to you prior to meeting someone in person. While it’s a standard and useful question to determine compatibility in a potential relationship, it’s also one of the most challenging to answer. If you’d like to feel better equipped to answer this loaded question, talk yourself through these three basic questions.
Where am I hoping for this to go?
Regardless of your relationship status, this question is always important. You can either apply the question generally, if you’re just starting to date around, or more pointedly if you’ve begun talking to a specific person.
Where are you hoping to end up? Are you aiming for something long-term that leads to a family? Or are you simply looking to pass some time while you focus on yourself?
Answering these questions for yourself, prior to answering them after being asked by a potential partner, will give you a clear view of your priorities, so you can be confident in knowing what you want. Of course, things can easily change once you enter the relationship, so be open to that.
What are my needs at the moment?
In a partnership, things should be equal. However, before you commit to a partnership, it’s okay to be totally selfish. In fact, you should be.
You may want a significant other that plays a little hard to get, but maybe you need someone that’s available and willing to listen when you’ve had a bad day. Maybe you have a child and need someone that’s looking for something serious and committed.
No matter your situation, run through this self-evaluation to determine not only what you want, but also what you need in a potential partner.
What am I expecting of them?
This is probably one of the more difficult questions because the answer tends to morph to fit the person you’re talking to. For that reason, this question is best considered in advance of any potential date.
It’s most important here that you’re honest with yourself and frankly evaluate what your expectations are. It might be fun and flirty to let a potential date know that you’re not looking for anything serious, but if your intention behind that carefree façade is that you’re going to change their mind, you’re asking for trouble.
Deciding what you want early may make you lose out on a couple of potential dates, but it’ll save you time in the long run. There’s no point wasting your time (or someone else’s) because you weren’t on the same page (and don’t plan to be). Anyone unwilling to move forward based on your honest response wasn’t worth your time in the first place.
The pressure to answer, “what are you looking for?” can feel overwhelming, but when it comes down to it, all you can do is be true to yourself. Answer these questions honestly and reflect on what you’re looking for before even starting a conversation with someone new. This way, you’ll not only be well prepared for the question, but you’ll also have a much clearer idea of who’s worth spending your time on.