"I'm happy feeling like my life is full as is, and I'm happy that any addition to it will be intentional and great. I don't want to waste my energy on someone I feel "meh" about or who feels "meh" about me."

In Defence Of Being A “Picky” Dater

I’m very happy being single.

And I’m not even going to follow that up with a “But no, really! WINK WINK I am!” like I’m trying to sell you a car. (Even though, really! I am! But please don’t take my car, I only have one and I like it a lot.) My life is full: full of work, full of friends, full of family, full of snacks, and full of going to the movies by myself because it’s the one place you’re completely allowed to out-loud SHUSH people for talking during your Popcorn’n’Previews time.

So dating for the sake of dating kind of gets in the way. I have shit to do. I have cats to pet. I mean, I could go out for coffee with a guy I’m not interested in (who’s also not really interested in me), or I could do about one million other things that I would probably rather be doing instead. (Like writing this! I can 100% promise you that I would rather be writing this than sitting across from someone who feels like they “should” be there. That’s the worst, right? “Should.” Horrible.)

When it comes to dating, I like friendships that get complicated. And when I say “complicated” I mean “you meet, you’re kind of pals, then you’re whatever it is you are, and hey—it all works out.” Because even if it “doesn’t” you have all that other cool stuff going on. And all of that happens when the timing is right, and it’s all very When Harry Met Sally, and more importantly, you’ve hit a point where you’re willing to give somebody your time. Which is a big deal! Time is precious. Giving it to somebody is probably the most generous thing you can do.

I know I’m being very vague, but time means a lot to me. You know that line in American Hustle when Irving says, “The deposit is non-refundable—just like my time”? (Of course you don’t. Why would anybody know that line? Stay with me.) I am Irving. I am also Jessie Spano scream-crying “THERE’S NEVER ANY TIME” before her infamous “I’m so excited!” meltdown, but that’s a conversation for another day.

What I mean to say is that I’m picky about who I spend time with. Particularly if that somebody is a dude I am supposed to want to date. My theory is: if I want to hang out with you, we should probably hang out. Just like you would with normal friends. Because I barely have time to see those people either, so you’ve got to be worth that place in ye olde planner.

This is why I don’t Tinder or Plenty of Fish. If you can and you do, you are a kind, patient soul. I am not. I am selfish, and impatient, and not enough “what if” magic in the world could make me hang out in a date-like setting with a total stranger based on three pictures I found of them on the internet. (Twitter is different, by the way—there, we’re all friends.)

“But Anne!” somebody says. “What if you’re missing out on the man of your DREAMS?”

Sure? Maybe! But I’m probably not, because we live in a world full of billions of people, and if fate wants us to be together THAT BADLY then I guess we will just meet in another public location. Or I will just meet another “Man of My Dreams.”

“But Anne!” that same person interrupts. “If you don’t try, then you won’t know!”

That is absolutely accurate. But in the words of Amy from Pitch Perfect, sometimes I think I should try crystal meth, then I think “better not.”

“But Anne!” (Who the hell are you? Why are you asking me so many questions?) “I know a lot of people who—”

Stop right there. The stories about other people and their dating successes are great. I think it’s wonderful that we live in an age where two people can come together via the Internet. (Said as someone whose life is the Internet.) But everybody is different. When I’ve explained my complicated friendship theory to some people, it freaks them the fuck out. Which is fine! No two people date the same way. Some people love the act of “dating.” Others love having a partner. Some people have never NOT had a partner. Others—hi!—are happy the way things are. And to be honest, if you want to interrupt my sweet-ass life flow, you better fucking dazzle me.

I know I’m asking a lot. But consider this: we’re picky about our friends, our work projects, our clothes, our music, and the movies we see, why wouldn’t we be picky about romantic-partners? Do you know how much TIME you spend with that person? (A shit-ton. That’s how much.) And if that person is the bomb and makes you happy and treats you like a best friend-and-then-some and you’re always laughing and life is beautiful, all that time spent will be worth it and the best. But if you’re settling? No. Oh my god. Do you know how many seasons of Columbo I (or you) could be watching? (All of them. That is the answer: ALL. OF. THEM.) Do you know what else you could be doing? (Everything.) I mean, sometimes lunch feels inconvenient because there isn’t enough time for it in the day. Who wants to say the same thing about a boyfriend?

So when I say I’m happy on my own, I really am. I’m happy feeling like my life is full as is, and I’m happy that any addition to it will be intentional and great. I don’t want to waste my energy on someone I feel “meh” about or who feels “meh” about me, or worse: is shitty and mean. Nor do I want to waste a perfectly nice (but not exactly right for me) person’s time. Because goddamn it, Jessie Spano was right: there really is never any time and if I’m not super excited to be hanging out with someone, we’re both wasting our (non-refundable) time. We could all be at home watching American Hustle, instead.


  1. Kristy Illman
    September 11, 2014

    seriously. preach.

  2. Marinara
    September 11, 2014

    You beat me to the PREACH comment – seriously what I was thinking reading through this.

  3. Seth Daniel
    September 11, 2014

    this line is pretty telling: “I have cats to pet.”

  4. LanaGay
    September 11, 2014

    annetdonahue Amen, sister!

  5. annetdonahue
    September 11, 2014

    LanaGay thanks, girl!

  6. wucandoit
    September 11, 2014

    annetdonahue Perfect 🙂 All I need are cheese biscuits and my boy Drake in doll form

  7. annetdonahue
    September 11, 2014

    wucandoit Literally inspired by our conversation Friday! (And the Drake doll I am now raising as my son)

  8. emmylanepotter
    September 11, 2014

    annetdonahue Yes. It will take a hell of a man to interrupt my precious Peter Falk time whether he’s Columbo or Grampa from Princess Bride.

  9. annetdonahue
    September 11, 2014

    HG_Watson thanks, girl!

  10. Notashopaholic
    September 11, 2014

    VAinTO shedoesthecity that’s awesome! I totally get it 🙂

  11. annetdonahue
    September 12, 2014

    amy_wood #HYFR #BLESS

  12. Gemini_Fantasie
    September 17, 2014

    shedoesthecity beautifully written!

  13. AdonHeat
    September 17, 2014

    shedoesthecity “The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”

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