John Patrick Weiss’s simple dating advice: watch how your date treats others.
One of the benefits of a career in law enforcement is that your eyes are opened to the many failures of humanity. You encounter despair, loss, anguish, addictions and broken lives.
It’s not fun to see this stuff but it can teach you a lot about what to avoid in your own life. To that end, I’d like to share with you a bit of advice about dating and relationships. I don’t proclaim to be any kind of expert but I’ve seen my share of dysfunctional relationships. Responding to countless domestic fights over the years gave me some insight. Particularly, I discovered the single most important quality to look for in a significant other. That quality is kindness.
Most guys I know tend to focus on looks first. And that’s where they get into trouble. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely want to be attracted to the person you’re dating, but not at the expense of more important qualities. One of my favorite analogies is this: Dating is a lot like buying a car. You can have that Italian Ferrari if you want to, but the maintenance costs are gonna kill you! Some people I’ve known focused on money. This one is a slippery slope as well. Money is nice but doesn’t guarantee a happy relationship. Shared interests can increase compatibility but at the end of the day, kindness is the most important quality.
Look for how your date treats other people. Does she thank the water boy at a restaurant? Is he an impatient driver, cutting people off and yelling? How does she treat her parents? Does he tend to speak well of others or gossip and always see the worst in people? I can’t think of a single domestic violence case I ever handled that was started by a kind person. Obviously, even kind people can have their shortcomings. A person could be kind and still be a slob, for example. For that reason, kindness alone doesn’t seal the deal. But more often than not, a kind person will bring you a much more pleasant life than an angry or moody person.
Be aware that people always try to put their best foot forward when meeting others. Some potential suitors may appear kind at first, but give it some time. A person’s past history is hard to hide for long and his/her true stripes usually manifest before long. The world is full of so many angry, maladjusted, entitled, shallow and opportunistic people. But it’s also full of some wonderful, emotionally mature, kind souls. If you are single and searching for that perfect someone, make sure you put kindness at the top of your “must have” qualities in a significant other. Doing so just might spare you a lot of pain, heartache and unhappiness.
This article originally appeared on John Patrick Weiss’s Website.
Photo credit: Helga Weber/flickr