Confession time: Another superficially alluring quality I've been suckered in by is humor. I am Silly Putty in a friggin' funny man's hands. I once had a boyfriend who teased me that the secret to getting me into bed was to crack five good jokes in a night. He'd count down his jokes as the night progressed. Unfortunately, funniness is a mere decorative quality —sometimes developed to avoid talking about real-life issues. Which is why in the past, after a few months of dating a friggin' funny guy, I've witnessed all that fabulous ha-ha-ha laughter often gives way to tears when the guy's true character—true soul—shows up as one that avoids honest communication, warm empathy and the desire for growth. Then, when I try to connect soul to soul—heart to heart—I am greeted by a gigantic, unmovable whoopee cushion wall.
Basically, friggin' funny is only the tiniest tip of a person. Meanwhile, a person's soul is a person's foundation!
For the record: Aristotle wasn't against finding someone friggin' funny or friggin' sexy or friggin' rich. He believed these pleasure-bringing qualities were good for stirring up passion, which humans need to be our fullest selves! But Aristotle recognized "superficial lures" and material goods were simply what he called "means to the ends" of happiness, not "the final ends," which is always to grow into your most esteemed self.
As Aristotle said: "Men imagine the causes of happiness lie in external goods. That is as if they were to ascribe fine and beautiful lyre playing to the quality of the instrument rather than the skill of the player."
Or as I like to say, "It's just as easy to complain about a rich man as it is to complain about a poor man."
Basically, it doesn't matter how rich a guy is if his behavior makes you twitchy and miserable.
While on the subject of money, Aristotle was no fan of slackers either. He recognized that being or dating poor brought its share of problems. He even admitted the lack of a certain amount of wealth was as much an obstacle to happiness as deprivation of freedom. He gladly accepted that some wealth was needed to be happy—just as exciting bodily pleasures were needed. But again, wealth and bodily pleasures were mere means to the ends of happiness—these ultimate ends being to nourish your soul, so you can reach your most esteemed level of self.
A big secret to happiness? Stop focusing on finding a Mr. Right! Start focusing on finding Life Plan Right. When a Mr. Potential Right comes along, you must ask yourself if this guy will lead you to Life Plan Right or Life Plan Wrong.
As you get to know the guy, look to see if he:
1. Offers you exciting growth as well as exciting grope
2. Has developed good character—so he'll be a positive influence on your character development.
If the guy scores two for two, you're likely in Prince Charming territory.
Adapted by Karen Salmansohn from her book, Prince Harming Syndrome , QNY, an imprint of Hammond World Atlas Corporation. She is a best-selling author known for creating self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading self-help.
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