Have you ever walked out of an interview? You probably haven’t. But I have a friend who did just that. Everything about his interview felt wrong to him. He walked in, sat down, and then waited a few minutes for his interviewer to enter the room. She came in, took her chair, and it looked like the last thing she wanted to do was to sit through an interview with him.
Fifteen minutes into the interview, my friend stood up and apologized. “I’m sorry but I feel that an interview is a two-way street for us to try each other out. It is clear to me that this is not a good fit for me. I do not want to waste any more of your time.”
“You just walked out?” I asked him. “Yes. I was very gracious but it was clear that I would not work well with that type of manager or management style. I also am very clear on what I need to be successful in a position. I need to be able to focus when I have a huge project. I asked about the possibility of working across the street at Starbucks once or twice a month and they said that would not be an option. I know myself and I know what I need. That environment would not have worked for me. There was no need to continue with the interview.”
Dating is not very different from what happened in that interview. You don’t have to like a person who likes you. Nor do you have to put up with a situation that does not give you what you need.
In one relationship, I quietly and quickly exited stage left, just like my friend. A couple of weeks into the relationship, I realized that that this guy’s main focus was his job. He was definitely a workaholic. I called him on the phone and said, “I need someone who makes me a priority. Whether you pour yourself into another woman or pour yourself into your job, the same thing is true: I am still not your priority. I know what I need and it is clear that you cannot give that to me.”
If you don’t know exactly what you need to be successful, your happiness will be temporary. Instead of thinking about what you want in a person, focus on what you need. Do you need a person who loves family? Do you need a person who is willing to apologize? Do you need a person who likes to talk about current events?
We can all put up with a lot in jobs and relationships. Focus on what you need to set yourself up for success. If you don’t know where to start, think about your past relationships. What worked for you and what didn’t work?