Have you ever made a list of the qualities you want in your next partner? If you have, you're definitely not alone. Many of my clients come in with such lists. Some have the list in their heads, while others whip them out on pieces of paper, like a grocery list.
Snarky, sexy and un-pierced may have replaced the old tall, dark and handsome, but we still like to list the pros and cons. As weighing pros and cons can be subjective, we struggle to decide whether or not someone is dating-material.
To make the hunt a little more straight forward, I'd like to propose an alternative: hire your next partner like Google hires it's staff. Thomas L. Friedman's recent piece explains what Google looks for when they're interviewing and I think they're looking for exactly the type of person you're looking for. Here are four qualities that you should take from Google when looking for your next partner:
Humility. People who are humble don't blame others for their own mistakes. When you're humble, you can be really smart, but you don't always have to be right. Not knowing everything, allows you to be open to new input and makes you unpretentious. You can see how humility is a great relationship builder.
Love of Learning. People who love to learn recognize they always have more to learn and room to grow. They're curious about what others think. Continually wanting to expand the limits of knowledge makes you want to listen so you can understand your partner. It allows for the kind of creative thought that solves problems in unique ways, something most of us would like to see in our relationships.
Non-Traditional Leadership. For Google this means taking the lead when you’re the best person to do that, and handing it over when you're not. In relationships, we generally have a division of labor. You want a partner who is willing to take the lead, but not all the time, so that you can have a sense of shared responsibility and collaboration.
Ego Flexibility. Friedman describes a unique role of the ego which includes the ability to be passionately committed to your ideas, along with an open-mindedness about the ideas of others. The combination allows you to change your thinking when it's appropriate to do so. Think about relationship dilemmas: should we live in the city or the country; move for your job or mine; have kids or not. You want someone who knows what they want, but can also be open to your wants and needs.
Before your next boyfriend interview, when you're going over your list, it might not hurt to include some of Google's qualities. After all, if it works for Google.
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