Learn How To Date Your Priorities And Not Your Preferences

December 24, 2013  |  


From Essence

Recently, I watched Arsenio Hall interview Niecy Nash about her hilarious new HBO show Getting On and they discussed Niecy’s status as a Hollywood matchmaker (the actress introduced Sherri Shepherd to her husband). Arsenio asked what the trick was and her response was that she told her that if she was serious she needed to start dating for her priorities and not her preferences. And, you know what, Niecy is right.

In my twenties, my list of criteria was as long as a child’s Christmas wish list. I don’t know whom I had imagined would walk in the door, but if it weren’t Jesus himself, then the person wasn’t going to live up to my standards. Older and after a long-term relationship, my list has changed and shortened. I haven’t settled myself in any way, but at 37, I do know perfection doesn’t exist nor am I perfect myself.

But, hearing Niecy discuss this truism and others from her relationship book It’s Hard to Fight Naked I began to unravel the dilemma – I didn’t know the difference between my priorities and my preferences. I certainly wasn’t resigned to give up everything I was looking for just to find a partner, but I was having a hard time differentiating between the two. So, I made a list.

Once down on paper, I was able to decipher what I could live with or without much easier. And, as I started being truly honest, my list ultimately came down to five things. I am looking for someone who is: 1) Intelligent; 2) Driven; 3) Loves God and Family 4) Has a Great Sense of Humor, and 5) Loves Me. The other stuff I had on the list (mostly superficial and material things) didn’t really seem to matter as much as those five things I certainly could not live without.

Read on for more dating advice at Essence.com

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  • mepom12

    We can`t just have someone at our side just to say ” Here is my partner or boyfriend/girlfriend”. After 23 years of marriage all I want is to be alone and happy, finally my divorce is almost done and I will be the happiest person alive. There is no way life can be good when you live with someone, there is nothing better than freedom to do whatever you want without explaining to someone else who is not related to your blood and still want explanation of your about`s. I rather live under a bridge than live with someone else again. Men wants sex, housekeeper and if we women make more money than they do then they want to make part of it, there`s a lot of male gold diggers. I don`t understand why we are so stupid when we are young to get involved so deeply into relationship to find out later on in life that it sucks the soul out of us women. Be single girls, you have nothing to lose!

    • cb

      makes sense, but the young will not listen until 23 years later

      • mepom12


    • Cornell Ginger

      Don’t spew your negativity just because you choose the wrong person. There are plenty of good men out there so letting your bitterness be a scare tactic to other people finding love is beyond selfish.

      • anonymouse

        yeah, he’s probably tickled pink about it as well!

  • Noa

    I consider priorities non negotiable and preferences to be the icing on the cake. My priorities is someone who is generally nice, faithful, funny, open minded, and just let’s me be myself. I can’t be with anyone who doesn’t meet those standards. My preferences are usually just physical like tall, good looking, nice smile, athletic shape. I can overlook most of the minor details, but I don’t know if I can see myself with someone I wasn’t physically attracted to.

    • Lisa

      What are things like has a stable job, financially stable, willing to move, no kids considered. For me those are preferences but the article seems not to mention anything like that.



    • cb