In business, we typically create an ideal client avatar as part of our company’s marketing strategy. The avatar helps everyone in the company know the types of people ideally suited to the company’s products or services. Knowing your ideal client also helps the company refine and narrow its focus and develop products and services tailored to the needs of its customers. What I find interesting is these same business principles are not typically applied to the search for a romantic partner.
For many of us, the idea of dating and marriage is wrapped up in emotions like love and lust. Adopting a strategic approach to determining who we want to share our lives and resources with seems incongruous. But could developing an ideal companion avatar and adopting a proven and effective marketing strategy work in our personal lives? Absolutely. Here is my five-step approach to finding your next romantic relationship:
1. Create your Ideal Companion Avatar
Before venturing into the dating scene, consider what characteristics and values you are looking to find in a romantic partner. Use your past dating experiences as market research. What are you looking for? What do you want to avoid? Write your ideal companion avatar down, in as much detail as possible, to make it real and lock it into your memory.
2. Collect data from experts
By experts, I mean experts on you. While we might not want to admit it, often our family and friends have a better perspective on the types of people we interact best with then we do. Ask their opinions on the types of people who might be best suited to you. Find time to analyze this information in an objective way and consider whether information from the data collection might be valuable to incorporate into your ideal companion avatar.
3. Identify your target market
In what places would you most likely meet people who match your ideal companion avatar? Organizations? Clubs? Online or in person? Join those organizations and clubs and get involved. Who in your professional or personal life might be associated with individuals fitting your ideal companion avatar? Share the type of person you are hoping to meet and ask for introductions.
4. Evaluate potential matches
Now that your ideal companion avatar is fully developed and locked into your memory, you can use it as a litmus test for individuals you meet. While you don’t need to find a 100% match, knowing what you are looking for helps you avoid compromising on the things most important to you. As an example, if you meet someone who aligns with only half of your ideal companion avatar but is incredibly complementary and attractive, your avatar might help you see that the return on investment with this person is low and may not be worth your time.
5. Establish a probationary period
The probationary period is the initial dating period. This is when you explore what a relationship might be like with this person. It is when you determine whether your values are in alignment and identify the goals of the relationship (such as long-term commitment, short term fun, or companionship). The purpose of this period is to assess whether the person truly matches your ideal companion avatar and to ascertain the return on your investment in the relationship. During the probationary period, contracts in the form of moving in together, giving the person a key to your living space, engagement, sharing of resources (car, money, etc.), or other commitments should be avoided because they distract from your ability to objectively analyze whether this person can give you what you want.
Creating and applying a business approach to relationships is not intended to discount the power or importance of attraction or your feelings. Instead, this approach integrates concrete, cognitive steps with the emotional components typical of dating. This process allows you to analyze the relationship more completely, looking at all variables instead of relying on emotions alone. Ultimately, taking a strategic approach to your relationships increases the likelihood of a higher return on investment and decreases the likelihood of the dissolution of a long-term relationship.
Dr. Robin Buckley, PhD, Owner, Executive Coach, Couples Coach at Insights Group Psychological & Coaching Services
Dr. Robin Buckley, CPC, helps high-achieving women thrive in their careers and relationships. She is an author, public speaker, and cognitive-behavioral coach who works with executive women and high-performance couples. Her proprietary coaching model uses a business framework and cognitive-behavioral strategies to support women in creating and executing concrete, logical plans for developing their careers and relationships. The founder of Insights Group Psychological & Coaching Services, Dr. Buckley has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and served as a doctoral professor and dissertation chair for students in business, leadership, education, and healthcare. She has published two books, including Voices From the Village: Advice for Girls on the Verge of Adulthood. She has been featured as an expert on multiple media platforms, including the Authority Magazine, various podcasts, News Radio 96.7, and is a columnist for Entrepreneur.