You Better Shop Around: Seven Strategies for Seeking that Special Someone

Now that I am no longer married, I’ve decided to take a peek into the wide world of dating. Although I know I am capable of living alone, I’d much rather be in a relationship–to have that special someone by my side to share tacos, sunsets and all the other joys of life. 

I want to be purposeful about the process—to be mindful and take it seriously–but also stay lighthearted, have fun, and try to see the humor in all of it. I’ve joined a few meet-up groups and have created profiles on a few dating apps. As I have been swiping left and right, I was amused to find the voice of Toni Tennille singing “You Better Shop Around” running through my head:

 “Try to get yourself a bargain, girl
Don't be sold on the very first one
Good-looking guys come a dime a dozen
Try to find the one who's gonna give you true loving

Before you take someone and say I do, now
Make sure he's in love with you, now
Make sure that his love is true, now
I hate to see you feeling sad and blue, now
My momma told me, you better shop around”

I love to cook, so I laughed at how much the advice in the song reminded me of recommended strategies for effective grocery shopping. I realized many of the same strategies can be applied to seeking the right partner:  

  1. Don’t shop when you are hungry. If you shop when you are hungry, you tend to grab and eat the first thing you see. Don’t be sold on the very first one. The same advice applies to a relationship. Feed yourself first–create a full life–then look for someone.  If you jump at the first thing that comes along, you may fill up on a quick fix instead of enjoying a satisfying meal. 
  2. Taking something from someone else’s cart will not end well.  This will just make everyone sad and blue. Enough said.
  3. Make a list of what you need. It’s a good idea to shop with a list. It is even more critical to have one in your search for a partner. Take time to think about what is important to you. It probably goes without saying that top on the list should be making sure your love is true.
  4. Take your time shopping. If you shop in a rush, you will likely forget an item, which could be a key ingredient. The checkout lane is not the time to realize “Damn! I forgot the cheese!” Before you take someone and say “I do”, make sure you get everything on your list, or at least the things that matter most to you.
  5. A convenience store may be convenient, but it will not have everything you need. Like shopping when you are hungry, a convenience store may have tempting, quick fix items, but they will not satisfy you for the long haul. Most of your choices will be dime-a-dozen junk food. Plus, the bananas are always speckled. Just sayin’.
  6. Be open to options. You may go in for broccoli but find the price is too high or it doesn’t look fresh. Wander through the produce aisles and consider other options. Maybe the asparagus is in season and is a better deal for you. Get yourself that bargain!  When seeking a relationship, have high standards for quality, but know it may look different than how you originally thought it would. Be open to options — as long as you make sure they still work for you.
  7. Finally, if you want something really satisfying, you need to cook from scratch and with quality ingredients. No shortcut frozen dinner is ever as good as a home cooked meal. It will take time, energy and patience. Shop around to find the best quality ingredients. Cooking from scratch may include lots of prep work and there will be more dishes to clean up. But the end result is something much more meaningful, healthy, and satisfying. Plus, cooking with someone is fun. And when you can work together to decide how spicy to make the chili, then you’ve found the one that’s gonna give you true loving.

Do you have your own shopping/relationship strategies to add to the list? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!

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