Most people don’t want you as a partner. A small percentage would take you if they see no better options at the moment. But there’s someone who believes you are his or her wish come true.
That person doesn’t have to make his or her mind up. That person sees your value and is willing to choose you without question. This is the person you should choose, not the person for whom you are a back-up plan. A second or third or fourth choice.
The person who’s right for you will pay almost any price to be with you. The person who’s not right will have a long list of conditions — and you will never meet all of the conditions, so that “love” will always be conditional.
That’s not real love. Don’t lie to yourself.
Guy Kawasaki worked for Apple in the days just before the original Macintosh was introduced in early 1984. He was an “evangelist” in charge of finding outside software companies who saw the value of the Macintosh and wanted to partner with Apple — by writing software applications for the Mac — before there was any market for Mac software.
In his 1990 book, “The Macintosh Way,” Kawasaki told a story that points to the attitude we have to have as we look for the right partner.
Kawasaki said that he and another Apple rep would show up for a meeting with a software company, which would typically include the president of the company, the vice president of marketing and the vice president of development. Before those folks ever saw the demo of this revolutionary computer, the president would typically tell them that Apple would be required to pay a “development fee” of $250,000. The marketing and development VPs would make similarly tough demands.
Kawasaki would ask them to wait until after they had seen a demo before they discussed anything about those issues. Then he and the other Apple rep would launch into a demo unlike anything these execs had ever seen. (Remember that this was the first mass market graphical computer. Up until then, everything had been blinking plain text on a screen.)
“After thirty minutes,” Kawasaki wrote, “either their jaws would drop to the floor, their eyes would pop out, and they would have to wipe sweat off their foreheads, or we’d go back to Cupertino.”
There were two groups of executives. There were those who didn’t understand the value of what they were seeing. They didn’t have the vision to see what this revolutionary computer was going to mean. So they were still full of their list of conditions.
On the other hand, there were a few of the executives who immediately “got it.” They were blown away. They forgot all about their previous list of demands. All they wanted to know was, “When can we get started?!”
That’s what I’m looking for. That’s what you should be looking for, too.
We all need to be holding out for someone who sees the best of what we are — who recognizes what we can be with the right partner — and who is willing to drop the conditions and “maybes” and take action to be with us.
What we don’t need are those who think we would be good to keep around if something else doesn’t work out. The person who doesn’t see enough value to choose you from the beginning is never going to want you as a first choice.
About 12 years ago, I dated a woman — off and on — for a few years who was crazy about me. She decided I was what she wanted, so she moved halfway across the country to be here to pursue me. She was a beautiful and intelligent woman who had a lot going for her. But she was wrong for me.
I knew from the beginning that she would never be my first choice. I knew she was a perfectly acceptable back-up plan in case nobody better came along. And she waited for me while I went off and dated someone else. After I broke up with that other woman, she eagerly started dating me again.
But she was always a back-up plan. Every time I heard the old Death Cab for Cutie song, “The Sound of Settling,” I felt guilty, because I knew that was exactly what she was for me. She eventually figured that out and gave up, but not before she had wasted several years of her life on a man for whom she would never — not then or ever — be his first choice.
You can’t force someone to see what you see for a relationship. You can’t force someone to believe you are worth choosing. You can’t force someone to see how much you have to offer, because you can’t force someone to value the same things you value.
In fact, one of the most devastating things you can ever say of a potential partner is, “You’re never going to understand my priorities and what I’m trying to be.”
If you’ve been someone’s back-up plan, stop waiting. If someone understood what you have to offer — and still didn’t choose you — you’re never going to be his or her first choice, even if you’re certain the person is making the mistake of his or her life.
Someone truly wants you. Find that person who values what you are. Stop begging someone to finally choose you. It’s not going to happen — and that probably means that person doesn’t deserve you anyway.
Move on with your life. You deserve more than you’ll ever get by waiting around and begging to be loved.