“Should I be selective if I don’t have many dating options?”

How do you maintain high dating standards when it feels like you can’t afford to be picky?

Great question. 

Many men, especially introverted ones who aren’t meeting as many women to begin with, tend to wonder… 

“How can I be selective when I don’t get many dates in the first place?”

Whether you struggle with gathering the confidence to ask women out or you simply don’t meet many women in your daily life, it can feel tempting to feel pressured and try to seize every opportunity that crosses your path. 

Without the experience of trial and error, it can be very hard to decide:

“Is it better to say yes to all possibilities and give every woman a chance? Or should I turn down dates when I’m not completely into them?”

While the subtleties will vary with every man reading this, today’s article will help you decide what your own dating standards are, and how you can stick to them. 

We’ll cover…

  • choosing your most important needs and wants that you’d like from a relationship,
  • developing your personal set of dating standards,
  • building enough confidence to say “no” when a date doesn’t feel right, and
  • finding a “happy medium” that keeps your heart open to unexpected possibilities.

With some practice and introspection, you’ll soon feel comfortable being “selective” without being “picky.”

And that’s a win for everyone involved! 


Why is it important to know your own standards?

Determining your standards is crucial, but often overlooked, as a first step in dating. 

Plenty of men go for every date they can possibly get. You may hear guys brag about their “swipe right on everyone” strategy on Tinder that landed them a dozen dates… with women they ended up never seeing again. 

Sure, some men are happy with a shallow connection that never leads to anything more. But even guys who want a loving and committed relationship often “swipe right” thoughtlessly, in real life as well as on dating sites. 

Why are they wasting time with such an inefficient strategy? 

Often, the true reason these men don’t turn down dates is that they have a crippling, hidden fear of missing out on a great thing. 

You may have the same worries. What if that woman you didn’t feel attracted to at first glance would have one day become your wife? 

The fear of missing out (“FOMO,” for Millenials) plagues nearly everyone when they choose not to pursue an opportunity in life. It’s natural that this fear would extend to dating.

That said, remember…


When you can determine what you really want from a relationship, you will know when the right opportunity comes along. 

Likewise, you will be able to recognize when a situation is not right for you. If a particular woman or relationship does not meet your standards, you can say “no” with confidence and have no fear that you could be missing out on something great. 

Enforcing your standards without fear comes down to your level of confidence in yourself. 

Once you know you can find and cultivate better relationships in the future, then turning down dates that don’t fit with what you want becomes much less scary. 

With this free ebook, you’ll get even more great tips that will help you build your dating confidence. 

By downloading this ebook, you are taking the first important steps toward becoming a benevolent badass who takes charge of his dating life. Awesome!

Read on to learn how to recognize a great dating opportunity from the start and avoid carelessly winding up in a situation that wouldn’t be right for you.


First, figure out what you really want.

Don’t worry, it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds!

In a moment, we’ll go over several questions you can ask yourself to start the process of developing your own set of dating standards that will help you be selective without being too picky. 

Before we dive into that, however, let’s keep one rule in mind:

Be selective to a degree that feels true to you.

If there were a one-size-fits-all handbook of dating standards that could save you time and heartache, we would be posting it in this article for you! 

But the process that you take to uncover your personal desires and dealbreakers provides an integral foundation upon which you can build your self-confidence with dating. 


See for yourself how clear you feel once you have written your list of needs and have a solid plan for enforcing those standards in front of you. 

With that in mind, you’re ready to tackle the process head-on.


Make a list of your needs, wants, desires, and dealbreakers for a relationship.

Deep in your heart, you probably already have this list at least partially formed. 

Bring it to the forefront of your mind by physically writing down as many points as are important to you. 

If you need some help getting started, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want your partner to share your religion/political beliefs/views on an issue you feel strongly about?
  • What is your ideal lifestyle, and do you want children? 
  • Is it important that your partner knows how to communicate clearly and handle conflict in a healthy and productive way?
  • Could you tolerate a partner who smokes or drinks, or are these hard “no’s” for you?
  • Do you have a preference for a certain level of income or education in a partner?

At first, answering these questions on paper may feel awkward. 

Allow yourself some time to get into the right mood. 

After a while, the answers should flow more naturally. Come up with your own questions and write them down as they occur to you.

Dig deeply, if you can!

Once you have a list you are happy with, you can use it to evaluate how you feel about a potential partner more quickly, clearly, and logically. 

This will help you recognize when a great opportunity does cross your path, or whether you could save yourself the time and heartbreak of pursuing a relationship that isn’t what you want. 


Still not sure whether it’s actually better to be selective rather than open to everything? Here’s how it’ll save you trouble in the long run.

Think about things from the perspective of your date for a moment: 

She has met a man she’s interested in and has either taken the leap to ask him out or accepted a date that he initiated. 

She’s excited, and rightly so!

How would she feel if she knew that this man wasn’t really into her? Or, that he only said yes because he was afraid of missing out, instead of being actually attracted and excited about her?

That would sting.

Going on a date when you’re not feeling it is the first step toward leading a woman on because you don’t think you can find better. 

You’re settling, and eventually, she will find out and be hurt. 

Instead, it’s courageous of you, and better for her, if you stay true and honest from the very beginning. 

You will save her the wasted time and possible heartbreak of a relationship if you are honest from the start once you know in your heart isn’t going to go anywhere. 


Also, remember that it’s attractive when a man knows what he wants.

Feminine women are naturally more attracted to your vibe when you stand up for what you really want and go for it, refusing to lower your standards. 

This is so solid and sturdy and manly! 

Choose to broadcast your confidence and high self-worth by keeping your bar set in the right place for you. 

Awesomely, your confidence will actually go up from enforcing your standards. 

That confidence will help you attract the right woman who is drawn to your inner strength. 

It’s a win-win!


As with most things, moderation is key.

Strive for a happy medium when you devise your list of dating standards. 

Yes, you may really love tall women, but if your 5’2” date hits all your other checkboxes and the two of you get along swimmingly, don’t turn her down just because she isn’t “perfect.” 

At the end of the day, your list is not law. It’s a set of guidelines you keep to remind yourself…

  • you are worth the time it takes to find the right person, and 
  • you don’t need to settle when something is not what you want. 

Remember, you can fall into the habit of being too picky if you take the list too seriously. 

Especially for introverted men, it can take some time to feel a connection with a woman when you’re just getting to know her. 

Allow yourself enough time to determine what’s going on before you decide to let an otherwise good match go. 

Sometimes this takes a few dates, and sometimes it’s obvious right there in the dating app! 


Conclusion on how to be selective when you feel like you don’t have many dating options.

You may feel tempted to grasp at every possible opportunity. Keep your head high and your goals pointed toward what you truly want. 

This approach will ultimately improve your dating life in the long run. 

As a quick recap of what we covered today, remember these key points:

  • Writing out your list of personal dating standards shows you in black and white ink what you truly want out of a relationship. No guesswork necessary!
  • Sticking to your guns saves you and your date time and heartache when a relationship is not meant to be. 
  • Standing up for your needs displays confidence that will attract the right woman when you happen to cross paths someday. 
  • Striving for a healthy balance while enforcing your standards lets you explore potential bonds that may take a while to develop

All of this comes with time and some practice getting to know yourself. 

For extra help developing these and other crucial dating skills, don’t forget to download our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead.”

For more intensive help, consider joining our Launch Your Dating Life program, where you’ll receive personalized, one-on-one dating advice for your individual situation. 

Get more details here, and apply for a private phone call to see if our program is a true match for you!

Picture of Kelly from IA
Kelly from IA
Kelly is resident writer here at Introverted Alpha, which is known as the premier dating coaching company for introverted men; featured by Forbes, Business Insider, Cosmo, and more. Pick up your free copy of our 22-page ebook inside the blue box just below.

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