Let’s Ditch the High Value Man and Quality Woman

Hands of man and woman holding a heart together.

The high or low value man, quality woman etc….Im getting very tired of the use of these words being used by almost every dating and relationship coach on the intertubes…it’s just plain demeaning on a basic human level and different descriptions are sorely needed in this space.

Now I get it, the words’ value and quality are easy to write and to digest, people in the dating world grab onto these words quickly because everyone loves labels to explain their day to day experiences with other human beings.  But as happens way way too often, these labels take over from just being files for the brain to becoming personally and culturally damaging to whole swaths of people, and in this case those swaths include anyone sitting across from you at Starbucks on a meet and greet that you realize may not be relationship material for you.

Now please don’t get me wrong here, we need to be looking for an emotionally available and mature adult and have to know what values we are looking for in a more long term partner.  Dating is all about exploration of that person you are engaging with as well as exploring your own growth through this journey. There will likely be many who don’t fit the healthy partnership model for you, but the life/relationship coaching industry and some personal growth authors have seemingly cheapened this part of the journey by using broad and quick, lazy labeling.  

And besides the overall demeaning labels these words have manifested, they also do a disservice to the person looking for their next life partner.  If you are like most people dating, especially over 30 or 40, you are online looking for any helpful advice that resonates to make your dating life less stressful, more fun and most importantly, more quickly successful.  By reading these words used in such broad brushed ways at almost everywhere you turn, the brain will attach more personal negative connotations to those words, will make it the default label and will attach these personal disparaging judgements to your new date, EVERYTIME, if he’s not a fit for you or in your perspective is not relationship ready.

A High Value Woman for Whom, and Why?

What I am proposing is we stop with using those words to describe someone who isn’t going to work for you because he or she appears to be emotionally unavailable or has shown during early stage dating they lack the level of maturity to sustain a long term relationship. These people are human beings, and as such they have their own challenges, possible traumas, different social awkwardnesses and the like that contribute to their unavailable behaviors and for not being able to show up in the ways you are needing them to.  Ok, I know that at this point you are thinking, well yes I know that there are many reasons a person isnt relationship ready so what’s the big deal with labeling those behaviors for expediency’s sake.  Well we need to go back to how the brain functions – as a video recorder, folder management system, and a machine that is constantly looking for the quickest way to give you the “file” you are looking for.  So the brain will start to strip the deeper, more nuanced meanings to the words from your experiences and give you the “negative reaction feeling” answer. The more broad definition of those words will win over the more complex definition that is very individual to each person you meet, potentially culminating with you looking at the overall pool of prospective mates in those negative terms even BEFORE you meet the next person.  

How do you think it feels to watch all the YouTube videos of coaches talking with women or men about high quality, high value people being so hard to find.  So the next time a woman says no to a second date, and that person has been ingesting dating advice, that person may now internalize being low value in personally damaging ways. Let me be clear here, we are not responsible for how someone internalizes and externalizes their life experiences(outside of concious manipulation, abuse etc) but as being a part of a personal support industry the words we use are important as they are exponentially magnified in the Cloud.  We do have some cultural responsibility in being helpful coaches and facilitators without doing harm to our clients or the  populace at large.  And as individuals we also have a responsibility for the energy we put out to others we invite into our space.

There was that article a while back that went viral about women saying no to dating because the men are just not stepping up to the plate like they should in mature ways.  THAT’S VERY VALID, but that doesn’t mean they are of low value or quality as human beings, it should only mean that they have some individual work to do to figure out the personal, conditioned challenges that are holding them back from being able to sustain a healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship or life partnership.  Now this article was focused on dating under 30,  but some of this applies to the over 45 dating space.  In fact, this space can be even more difficult because for some people they now have a divorce on top of unresolved challenges which produces more uncertainty, lack of self esteem and possibly a newly minted negative mindset regarding relationship.  And it is not easy to be able to separate out being a “low value boyfriend” versus a low value person, you have to be very self aware to successfully manage that and frankly, if you are that self aware you are probably on your way to being relationship ready.

Don’t You want Someone to be Relationship Ready?

So what words to use instead?  I realize it’s a lot of words and challenges to write or talk about when referencing someone who isn’t right for you – avoidant, too anxious, self absorbed..personality descriptions could go on for a long time, hence the need for some encapsulating definitions.  How about something I used already in this post?  Relationship ready.  Simple, short, to the point without being boxed in.  Instead of using words that leave no growth potential for the person, relationship ready leaves a lovely opening. That person who is having coffee with you who isn’t relationship ready for you specifically or is not relationship ready in that present moment, but maybe he or she will be ready at some point, for someone else.

So let’s ditch the “value” and ”quality” person, and acknowledge and embrace every individual who is taking the time to meet you and is looking for connection with another human, I mean that’s why you are there too.  It might not be the same kind of connection you are seeking, or they may not be ready for what you are ready for in relationship, but we can stay in the present moment, wish them well on their personal journey and mean it.  Let’s not give our brains another chance to reinforce negative labeling.  I’m sure that’s the kind of honest goodwill you appreciate from them as well in this journey for meaningful relationship.


Lori Rudiger is a certified Interpersonal Communications Coach and passion instigator for life, relationship and love. Lori has loved wholly, lived through deep loss from partner death, and experienced dating in the 21st century. Yet, the passion for living in joy, personal agency, and connection only strengthened through the ensuing years.