General Question

rooeytoo's avatar

What is the line that divides shallowness from personal preference?

Asked by rooeytoo (26936points) April 27th, 2009

If you decide not to date someone who has good qualities but doesn’t meet your physical requirements, does that make you shallow? Suppose this is a wonderful human being but they have bad breath, are you shallow if you can’t overlook that? How about if they pick their nose but have a wonderful job and are nice and polite? Or maybe they have greasy hair or body odor or you don’t like the way they dress? Or maybe they have bad teeth or are too fat or too short or tall for your taste. Are you shallow if you decide not to date them?

Date is the operative word, not simply befriending.
Where do you draw the line?

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20 Answers

Bagardbilla's avatar

Good qualities are hard to come by! everything else you mentioned can be fixed. The amazing power one aquires by loving someone is so immense that it can EASILY be redirected and used towards feeble things like bad breath, body Oder, and boogers!
So to answer your question, “justification” is the boundry.

asmonet's avatar

If a superficial flaw prevents you from finding someone who is otherwise well suited in intellect, behavior, etc.
I have a preference for redheads.

It’d be superficial for me to turn down every brunette based solely on hair color.

When you find someone it simply matters less and less.

Divalicious's avatar

Personal preference is what you prefer. For instance, brunettes, buff bods, or blue eyes.

Shallowness is when you refuse to consider someone solely based on your personal preferences. You’re unable to see that person’s potential because they aren’t what you “prefer”.

BookReader's avatar

…toe may toe…toe ma toe…there is no difference…half empty/ half full…

Triiiple's avatar

Dont think it should matter if your shallow or not, its someone YOU are going for be as picky as you want!

bythebay's avatar

I’m of the school of thought that you should strive to attain that which you truly desire. Why should you overlook obvious traits that irritate you for the sake of dating someone? If you cheat yourself out of being with a wonderful person because your bar is too high; it’s your loss not the other persons. On the other hand, if you wait for exactly what you want…and get it/them…all the better.

I don’t think it is shallow to rule someone out because they don’t meet your personal preference. I wouldn’t sit down and order a meal of food I didn’t care for; I wouldn’t buy a home or car that didn’t meet my personal preference. It isn’t equal opportunity dating, it’s seeking out your hearts desire.

cwilbur's avatar

Shallowness is independent of personal preference. You can not be interested in someone because of personal preference, and it can still be shallow.

wundayatta's avatar

Relationships are about compromise, and learning to work out your differing preferences together. If you expect a mate to be perfectly matched to you, so there is no working out, you’ll be looking for a very long time. I think that when one learns that lesson, one moves out of shallowness into depth, as far as relationships are concerned.

I’ve never really understood this “type” thing. I’ve had girlfriends of all shapes and sizes. What matters to me is their smarts and personality, and that I am attracted to them. There are a lot of smart women who have personalities that I am attracted to. So after that, it’s a matter of circumstance, and her feelings about me.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

There is no lines. You can have shallow personal preferences, which makes you shallow!

elijah's avatar

@daloon You do have a type. You said you have girlfriends of all shapes and sizes, that’s good. But by saying that what matters to you is smarts and personality, you are saying that you aren’t attracted to girls that are dumb or dull.
It doesn’t matter if they are positive or negative traits, physical, mental, or emotional. Everyone always has a preference. There’s nothing wrong with that. Like @Divalicious said, it’s only shallow if you aren’t willing to make exceptions.

wundayatta's avatar

@elijah I see you prevailed on the fluther gods to change your name—as you will, but I liked the old one

I’m shallow by your definition. Even if she was goddess like, but vapid, and she was chasing me, I think I’d run away. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people getting sucked into snake pits in that kind of situation to make an exception.

elijah's avatar

@daloon and it’s completely understandable to not want a woman like that, because she doesn’t have the qualties you want. It’s not shallow!
Some girls can’t help being stupid, just like some guys can’t help being short or bald. These girls are sad when they’re rejected, because they know the person they were interested thinks they aren’t good enough. It’s the same as a man being rejected for height.

wundayatta's avatar

@elijah But I am unwilling to make exceptions. In your eyes, that makes me shallow. That is, if you believe your rule.

I think there are a hierarchy of reasons not to like a person. If it’s personality or behavior, then I think that’s more acceptable than size, shape, and color. Of course, size, shape and color have to do with physical attraction, which is important. It may be something that is beyond our will to deal with. I.e., built in by nature as a survival algorithm.

I guess it’s an issue of how wide you are willing to cast your net. If you automatically rule out anyone who does not fit your physical type, then you may or may not have a harder time finding someone. You won’t, however, be able to make an exception if warranted, because you won’t even have a chance with someone who might work for you, but doesn’t fit your physical type.

On the other hand, if you rule out people because they don’t fit your personality type, this seems more reasonable. It seems less likely that you can get along with someone you don’t get along with, although it does happen. Intelligence—that seems much more difficult to make the case for, although we do have the Eliza Dolittles of the world as mythical exceptions.

bythebay's avatar

If I’m not interested in you, so be it. If you don’t like me, you don’t like me. For whatever reasons, we are all allowed to have our preferences and what may appear to be shallow to one, may be insurmountable to another. When did the rule pass that having opinions about what you like/dislike makes you shallow? Whether it be size, shape, color, personality, intelligence, hair, whatever; why would someone be considered shallow if they have a strong preference? Remember, the Q says “dating is the operative word”; not friendship or association. I would/could/am friends with many people I would never consider dating.

rooeytoo's avatar

@bythebay – thank you, to me your words are the voice of reason in a series of questions and answers that reeked of politically correct responses that sounded like pure judgmental baloney to me. I do not think that having a preference about whom you may want to have a relationship with makes you “shallow” a word with a definitely negative connotation. And yes having preferences does mean that you could be limiting the number of dates you have but I don’t believe that is a bad thing, that means you are not desperate and have standards and can abide your own company.

As you pointed out “dating is the operative word” not friendship.

bythebay's avatar

@rooeytoo: You’re welcome.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Being shallow is being petty about small things that can’t be helped. If someone has something like bad breath, that is an indication that they don’t take care of themselves and, therefore, might not be able to provide the kind of care that a partner should be able to. If it is a trait that keeps you from being sexually aroused, that is also an issue because, imho, sex is an integral part of a romantic relationship, and going into one without being able to be turned on by your partner is just asking for dysfunction. Shallow is not being able to see beyond silly little things. Preference is choosing one over the other.

rooeytoo's avatar

@TitsMcGhee -ahhhhh, but one person’s definition of a silly little thing might be a lot different than another person’s. And when you say preference is choosing one over the other, again it is very subjective because everyone’s choices are different. Bagardbilla in the first response said bad breath, nose picking can be overcome by love but you say no it can’t, and I agree, are we shallow? And if you are not turned on by short guys, how does that fit into the picture should you ask for dysfunction just so you won’t be called shallow?

So the bottom line, I have standards and if someone doesn’t meet them I am not going to date them. Then we can discuss whose loss it is!!!

Bagardbilla's avatar

@rooeytoo
I did not ittirate clearly my thoughts, what I meant to say was that there are things which can be overcome or changed with the power of love. We all alter ourselves for the sake of those we love, (I used to eat my boggers all the time, sure I was six but hey, this girl I liked who lived nextdoor caught me one day and all she said was “Eahuuuuuuuuuuu”!
From that day to to now (some 36 yrs) I still look over my shoulder before… eating my boggers! ;)
You get the point.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The line between them is divided where a person wants to divide it. If a person feels they got maligned because they had freckles, were too fat, had crooked teeth, etc. the person who did not accept their imperfections is shallow. However, they do not hold that stringent criteria when choosing a pet, vehicle, home, appliance etc. The concept of a person having what they visually like is not shallow. However, if they say I don’t like Asian women and will never date on simply because they are Asian, that would be shallow, because there would be Asian women within their height, and weight criteria they will not accept simply because they are Asian. If someone wanted a red vehicle but one that matched everything they wanted and at the price they wanted to pay, would they accept it if it were ”baby puke green”? I don’t think so, every morning they left the front door to drive off, they have to look at it, how well it performed notwithstanding.

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