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When “Knowing What You Want” Goes Wrong!: Finding your soulmate


Long Note List

I have talked about my theory of Fundamental Character Flaws and believe everyone should have a list of things that they simply cannot stand for in terms of a mate (dealbreakers). It makes sense that there are some things you deserve to receive from your mate, and its good to know what you want. But … what happens when you really don’t know what you know … or when you “know” too much. That’s when:

Knowing what you want goes wrong!

Lets examine two examples of then “knowing what you want … goes wrong”.

The 100 Page List Writer

This woman has envisioned the perfect man since the day she stopped thinking boys were “icky”. She knows what he looks like, where he went to school, what cologne he wears, his shoe size, what fraternity he is in, and what flavor of syrup he likes on his pancakes. She will know him when she meets him (because of an elaborate scoring system she designed in grad school to quickly identify him) and all she has to do is wait in the right place (because she already knows the types of places he goes and the type of women he likes).

The Know Nothing Know-it-all

This man knows exactly what turns him on and isn’t going to settle for less. His list isn’t as exact, but it has all the major things in terms of her likes and career goals and motivations. He knows what he wants.
Oddly enough, he knows very little about himself. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his degree, he can’t tell you want movies he regular sees, and even when he goes to buy lotion … they just all look so good!
And more interesting, he is the same way with women. While his first girlfriend had everything he asked for, every girl he has dated afterward has been different and opened his eyes in some way.
But damned if you can tell him he doesn’t know what he wants!

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I encounter these types all the time (and have spent some time in both categories) and they both are dooming themselves to a life of misery because they are fixated on “knowing what they want”.

The list maker will always be disappointed. She is inflexible and feels like bending on a single rule is “settling” and will lead to her unhappiness. She has self eliminated 92% of the male population since he has to have size 12 shoes (loves them big sexy feet) and can’t see anybody under 6’3″ (while being 5’4″ herself). She will most likely spend all her life in search of this “holy grail” and will end up old, lonely, and bitter to men (because they’re not sh*t).

The know it all doesn’t know anything. He was so busy convincing himself that he needed some direction in choosing a women (because there are sooooo many out there to choose from), the poor fool took no time to find direction for himself. How can you know what type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with and help raise your kids when the decision between Suave and Jergen’s takes 15 minutes every time! This person will never actually know what he wants, but may end up happy enough settling.My point here is there are two very important things to be careful of when figuring out things you can’t stand or must have. Keep this in mind and follow them and I guarantee you will be happy happier.

  1. Know yourself before you say what you need from someone else.
  2. Don’t go crazy with the requirements. Not everything is a must have.
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Since its nice and easy to put out general concepts with not actual tips on implementing them, there are only two thing you should follow before defining your perfect mate.

Write out a list of things about yourself first

We love to avoid looking or analyzing ourselves. This should always be your first step. Before you start writing out what you need from someone else, just start thinking about whats important to you, what you really hate, and your own weaknesses. With the weaknesses, think if its something you want to fix, or something you need someone else to be strong in and excel in.

Keep your list of Things you “Must Have” and “Can’t Stand” to 3

You heard me … only 3. You have got to learn to be flexible on somethings in life. Sure, you want a girl with DD breasts, but damn if your willing to let the perfect girl go cause they don’t bounce when she jumps. Keeping this list to 3 will force you to really decide what is important and cut the bullsh*t. You can keep writing after 3, but all of those are highly negotiable.

So I want everyone to sit down, and think hard about giving your search for someone else some focus, and if you already did this (which 80% of you have at some point in life) … go back and try again. Cut some of the bullsh*t off!

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This post inspire by Mikki


  1. Alright come on SBM 3?? seriously where did you get that magic number from? This I can't believe coming from a man with a list 10 miles long!!

    I pray to the Heavens you are not asking me to compromise my list that that aint about to go down cuz it took me 2 hours to write it.

    My list is well put together and ok yea the braids thing might be extreme but the rest of it is legit by my standards, I want my own first child, not another womans, I can't deal with smoking because my ass has Asthma and the rest is common sense and I dont think its really asking to much, I'm sorry I don't see how you can "Bend" on a compulsive lier!!

  2. @Mikki: I thought about 5, but a number like 3 makes its harder and means you have to think. You can list 30, but only 3 should be non negotiable.

    With you, the braids is way too perticular, the kid thing is valid … but again may be worht negotiating, and smoking depending on frequency, type (cigarettes or cigars), and whether he wants to quit or not should come into play … making it negotiable.

  3. SBM I don't see nothing wrong with a list. AS LONG AS THE WOMAN can bring what she asks for. I personally don't think a woman with children has a RIGHT to EXPECT her future suitor to have no kids. A receptionist by trade shouldn't expect for a lawyer to come in and wisk her off to Paris this Spring. ETC ETC.

    To me if you can bring it, you have a right to ask for it AND GET IT.

    I do think that long lists should have some negotiables. So ok he doesn't like foreign film or he's not really all that interested in watching marathon reruns on the style channel-it never hurts to put it down.

  4. I agree with the braids/cornrows/random dreads. I don't even see those men. They disappear to me.

    Now I will negotiate on a man who wears dreads out of a real articulate cultural reason, not because little Wayne has them. And the older you get the more articulate your reason better be.

    SBM do you have braids or something? why is that unreasonable?

  5. Thank you comeback my feelings are the same most of my list had to deal with character not physical elements which is what I was going for. according to the book it wouldn't be in my best interest to date a golf fanatic or a techi because those are not my main points of interest and would more than likely put me to sleep on any given occassion that wouldnt be fair to me or my mate.

  6. Now Mikki I must slightly differ on the golf/techie argument. I think that differences in hobbies should have some variance-those things bring a spice of life. I like for a man to be passionate about something. His passion doesn't necessarily have to be mine. It means that we have varied interests and aren't tied at the hip. Varied interests are good.

  7. @Mikki: Forgot to mention that stuff like compulsive liar isn't list worthy … everyone should just have honesty as a core need.

    @Comeback: Doesn't matter if you think you can pull the doctor, who went to Morehouse, with a networth >= 100K, and a house, and a foreign made car … you just shouldn't be so specific.

    One thing I forgot to mention (I've gotta stop doing that) is by retiring the list to a general afterthought and not the end all be all, you open yourself up to new people and you might realize something on your list just really wasn't that important.

    Too often we write these lists before we actually experience and hate something, we just sit and think about what MIGHT annoy us in the future, which fills the list with BS.

  8. SBM you still didn't answer the braid question?

    My list is my list. My man doesn't have to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer/humanitarian but I do have basic income (or business revenue requirements), ie if he says he's been a business owner for 10 years. And you still pulling down 50k a year before taxes-I got a problem. Not from a gold digger perspective but just goal setting issues.

    And I do think since I can "pull it" I can and SHOULD get it.

  9. @Mikki & Comeback: Already we are seeing that somethings on the list really are negotiable and aren't that bad.

    Grad School Admission boards will disqualify people for picky things, like writing in red ink. They have 10,000 people gunning for 500 spots. No average person has that much trimming to do in their love life. There is just no need for these elaborate and long lists.

    3 things you can't bend on. Maybe 20 negotiables. Thats it.

  10. @Comeback: No braids … but I know a lawyer in my mentoring group with dreads, and other equally good guys. Especially living around here, you know its just a really popular style.

    I hate weaves … passionately, but I'm not going to completely pass someone off for that.

  11. @Comeback: No braids … but I know a lawyer in my mentoring group with dreads, and other equally good guys. Especially living around here, you know its just a really popular style.

    I hate weaves … passionately, but I’m not going to completely pass someone off for that.


    you have a right to. I love my weaves. Just because a man doesn't like it oh well oh hell.

  12. @Comeback: Slish wrote a good post on why the "oh well oh hell" approach to life is hurting us as a people. If everyone is stubborn and "right", we all suffer in the end.

    You honestly don't think you would be bothered if the perfect guy just couldn't be with you because you decided to wear a weave in your hair? You don't think you would say "that bullsh*t" and then say how he was a no good man and then talk about his mama?

  13. key word SBM passionately!! so why on Gods green earth will you go dating females who love weaves I included . I am saying at some point thats going to get at you. Then one sunny day you will be walking down the street and you walk by a woman who has long real hair your gonna be like oh i "wish my girl did" then resent her for a long time or forever, and end up cheating all for some damn weave and i am willin to put money on it, all im saying is keep it real.

  14. Oh well oh hell is just a saying. I think you know by now, that I am more than my weave. Hair is an accessory. And me not wanting to date little Wayne is a preference. Most black women wear weaves and Black men don't know the difference anyway. So what of it.

    If its a man's deal breaker…to the left.

  15. @Mikki: I'm not that shallow to let some horse hair get between me and Mrs. Right.

    @Comeback: I hate "to the left". Not saying you are, but sooooo many women use that to disguise inner anger at a situation. With the friends its "to the left", at home their crying and sipping on merlot.

  16. @Comeback: I hate “to the left”. Not saying you are, but sooooo many women use that to disguise inner anger at a situation. With the friends its “to the left”, at home their crying and sipping on merlot


    what the hell. I have never cried over a man. There are so many out here. WHY????

    Crying comes when a woman believes that ONLY one man can be her all and everything. Anything can happen. Feelings could change. People grow. Women should know that sipping at home alone is a limiting action. Too many men in the world to do this. So "too the left" is a simple economic theory of supply and demand.

    "these dudes DON't KNOW THE NAME OF MY BAND?"

  17. lmao @ comeback

    yall two seriously crack me up everyday all day. I am needed really to decide which one of you to annoy when I come!

  18. I have to agree with The Come Back Girl, your list should be composed of things you can also bring to the table. But like the list I had composed, I think it is also important to include traits that you can tolerate. No one is perfect.

    SBM if you were two choose only 3 from your list..what would they be?

  19. Ahhh! It's always nice to see the daily brawl getting heated up.

    I did put together a basic list which is ridiculously short. I realized that some of the things that I "thought" I wanted are not requirements. The truth is that reality often differs from our expectations. The real question is not "can we find what we want?" but rather "will we accept and appreciate what we find?"

    Who knows, the sister with the real,long hair may find that she likes to wear weave every once in a while…

  20. Anti: Life is never going to be 'exact'. Nothing is ever going to be exact.

    Being to rigid is to be like a girlfriend of mine, who missed out on a great opportunity with a man because he was Catholic and she was Baptist. This is after the man said he'd be willing to go to church with HER most of the time. A year after they broke up, he married another girl who happens to be BAPTIST. But she had her 'list' and wouldn't deviate from it for nothing. He was Catholic, not a devil worshipper.

    Being too flexible, is to accept any old thing from any old body…no standards at all.

    You have to know what the right outlook is for you. A list can help guide you in the right direction, but it's just that a personal guideline, not the Magna Carta.

  21. I like that you should write a list of things about yourself too. Too many people think they know what they want and they don't even know their self yet. Love your blog

  22. Tiff just reminded me to put Baptist on my list!! (gonna go revamp) lol.

    Tiff I would have done the same thing if I was that girl.

  23. SBM, three is an interesting number but I can see why you chose it. Often times I hear girlfriends of mine with a list way to long and broken into sections(emotionally, physical, spiritual,financial,etc.)When dating I believe people should be more open minded and flexible.

    However I totally agree with the Comeback Girl, if you can bring it then you can definitely ask for it.

    Antidater said it best I think…The truth is that reality often differs from our expectations. The real question is not “can we find what we want?” but rather “will we accept and appreciate what we find?

    I think Anti covered in a nutshell there.

  24. Few things …

    I also don't think that anything related to looks should be on there. You know within 5 minutes if a person is attractive to you, so why do you think you need to list out their height and type of hair. Just say "Must be attractive to me".

    Also, nothing on the dealbreaker list should be negotiable. You really need to pick things thinking "do I truly plan to disqualify every single guy with braids for the rest of my life?" before you list braids as a dealbreaker. If you don't take is seriously, then don't write a list.

    @Ms. Deveraux: I realized that 3 may be too harsh. I have raised my recommendation to 5.

    @YBL: Yeah, I'm going to have to come up with my list. That'll be tough.

  25. I think the bigger problems are that people equate "compromising" with "settling" and see a relationship that didnt result in marriage as an epic personal failure. Be easy!

  26. Hey SBM, saw u over at Lola's spot & see you're in DC area. So, U R INVITED to a celebration for my fiction Debut on April 7th! I'm also collecting photos of me w/ bloggers (some folk r into "stars" i'm into bloggers;-). Check it out: <a href="http://www.i-lit.com” target=”_blank”>www.i-lit.com. Thanx!

    Now, to your post task. I already know I'm looking for a matching set of luggage – cuz i've got baggage of my own;-).

    My 3 MUST HAVES:

    1) LOVES HIM SOME ME (not just my outer shell;-)!!

    2) Is spiritually/creatively grounded!

    3) PUTS it DOWN sensually!

    If he has THOSE three qualities – he will take GREAT care of me (protect, serve, etc.) and he'll have to be pleasing in order for me to think he's putting it DOWN! 🙂

  27. even when writing on a blog thats read by thousands of our peers and with them trying to sound as perfect as they can, they are STILL sounding just as shallow in whats "required" as the stereotypes say they are supposed to be…

    this makes me 🙁

    but only because im a "scrub" myself.

    will the cycle ever end?

  28. I just need an honest responsible female and motivated woman with an ounce or two of natural beauty. Black america has tarnished our women rending 95% worthless. To t he 5% still worth a shit, I commend you

  29. Great topic SBM as usual. If you can narrow your main requirements down to 3, then you will probably leave out the "superficial" stuff. Examining oneself is important as well because unless you know yourself, how are you going to know what you want.

    When it comes to "requirements" you should make sure you're also able to live up to those same things you're wanting.

  30. @Haddassah: My opinion has officially changed to 5 now. 3 was too hard for even me in retrospect.

    @Allison: THANK YOU. That point is missed by so many people its ridiculous.

    @CapCity: Thank you for proving that 3 is not that difficult. Appreciate that.

    @Hasani: It never ends … sorry.

    @AnythingBlack: Yo … those are practically the same numbers I came up with in my post "Percentage of Quality". And you believe people think its higher than 5%.

    @Sheila: Your right about being able to live up to what you want. Otherwise, you just fall into that sad & selfish category.

  31. "When dating I believe people should be more open minded and flexible. "

    @ Ms. Devereaux I completely agree with you

    that's probably the reason why people end up all alone. They strictly adhere to the list. Sometimes the list needs to be tossed out and complete revised. That's why, SMB, I agree with your "3" rule

  32. I must admit I had a list when I was younger but eventually lost it because I felt like it was a distraction to a certain extent. Do I have a list now? Yes. A little one. Settling only permits and leaves the opportunities and desires for something better to come along — the attraction gets my attn but the personality and intellect keeps it. The majority thinks about what is already at the table before thinking of what they have to offer before proceeding in a courtship. I expect a lot as I would like for my potential honey to expect a lot out of me and not think that he's settling. Our wants and needs should fit like my favorite dress — we would take such good care of each other that we would know each other's worth so we can compromise on the other stuff. One cannot solely think on what the other's bringing to the table when their lacking.

    I see the braids & cornrows issue but I cannot see how someone cannot do locs (well kept ones) but would like one to accept their weave?

  33. totally agree with Southern Belle. You shouldn’t totally consume yourself with what he brings, but also consider what you can bring. Often times we think in a selfish manner, thinking of what can he do for me. Some women never realize, until it's almost to late, that he had to be satisfying with you as well. You have to possess something that he desires to keep him interested in you (something other than sex), just as you would require of him.

    The bottom-line to this list thing, is first get to know your strengths and weakness, assessing what you have to offer yourself and a man. You can't expect someone to get to know you if you don't know your real self. Then make a list of what qualities in a man you would like to date. I would suggest sticking to his character and not his physical characteristics, braids and dreadlocks can be cut into a neat haircut, but a person's character cannot be changed. Lastly, review the list to ensure you are not requiring something from this man that you don't require of yourself.


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