THE BLOG
11/17/2014 05:11 pm ET Updated Jan 17, 2015

The 80% Approach to Dating

Dave and Les Jacobs via Getty Images

If you think that there are no good guys out there, this is for you. As it turns out, there are lots of good guys out there, hiding in plain sight. Here's how to spot them.

When it comes to first impressions, for most women, men fall into one of three categories. If you look through the eyes of any particular woman and randomly shuffle the general adult male population, she would probably perceive most men as either:

1. The "Top" 10%:

I call these guys the "Hell Yes!" or "Tear His Clothes Off" guys. These are the ones you see and instantly desire. The actual criteria that makes these men attractive to different women varies, naturally. Different strokes for different folks and all that. However, every woman has experienced this instant, visceral attraction.

More often than not, these guys usually have "game," "swagger" or that certain "je ne sais quoi" that we interpret as "chemistry."

2. The "Bottom" 10%:

Remember the guy test given by Helen Hunt's character in Girls Just Want to Have Fun? The "would I puke if he kissed me" test? OK, maybe you missed that movie. The point is, there are some men you can look at and immediately know the answer is, "Yes, I would puke if he kissed me."

These are the men you feel actually repelled by on a visceral level, due to their looks or their demeanor or the gross way they approach you. These are the "Hell No!" guys.

3. The 80%:

From a woman's perspective, when you're talking about instant attraction, most men fall squarely into this majority. These are the "I just don't feel a spark," or "Maybe if he had better clothes/got in shape/grew three inches," or "He's attractive, I'm just not attracted to him" guys.

These are the guys we "friend zone" or try to set up with our co-worker. These are the "Great For Someone, Just Not Me" guys.

Who We Date

In our culture, we aren't really "taught" to date at all, but to the extent we are given guidance on dating criteria, we expect to date the Top 10. That's where we focus our attention and who we hope to end up with.

The chemistry or the "spark" we feel with the Top 10 can be intoxicating. So intoxicating, in fact, oftentimes we are determined to try to make the relationship work even when all signs indicate he's not the right person for us.

Unfortunately, instant physical attraction is an unreliable indicator of who we are ultimately compatible with. If you're reading this right now, you probably know this to be true, even as you wish it wasn't. We all know it, but that doesn't stop of us from hoping that the next time, the instant "spark" we feel will ignite the relationship of our dreams.

Who We Don't Date

Naturally, we don't date the Bottom 10, and with good reason. Your personal Bottom 10 is a no-fly-zone. If you feel repelled by someone, there is no overcoming that feeling, no matter how great of a person he is. If you've ever tried dating in your Bottom 10, you know how futile that is. He is not the guy for you.

We also often overlook the 80%. If you see the beauty of these guys, you are probably not reading this (or just reading out of curiosity), because you are probably in a relationship with one. The 80% is where the magic lies!

As a matchmaker and a dating coach, most of the men my clients meet fall into the 80%. I hear a lot of feedback like "He's great. So smart, really funny and I could tell he was into me. But I just don't feel attracted to him." Or, "He's going to make someone such a great husband! Just not me."

Who We Should Date

The 80%! That's 8 of every 10 single guys you meet or see online but pay no attention. That is a lot of men to ignore!

I need to stop here to make something abundantly clear: I do NOT advocate that anyone have a relationship with a person they are not physically attracted to. What would be the point?

However, I challenge you to embrace the possibility that chemistry can develop when other factors are in place and when it does, it can be just as powerful as the "spark" you felt with the Top 10, if not moreso because you have a mutual respect and compatibility already established.

As for the Top 10%, I'm not saying you can't date those men. If they're pursuing you, crazy about you and showing up for you in the relationship, go for it! If you're swimming in potential romantic partners and your biggest dating problem is to figure out whose clothes to tear off first, stop reading!

If you're still reading, I'm guessing your Top 10 guys are not falling from trees. Do not despair!

Open yourself up to the possibility that today's 80% can be tomorrow's Top 1%.

Have you ever had the experience of getting to know someone you weren't immediately attracted to and then developed an intense attraction to that person after discovering how amazing they are? That's what I'm talking about! It is possible, if you know how to date the 80%.

How To Date The 80%

1. Stop Critiquing The Superficial

If you're dating online, the first step is to stop acting like Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model. You are not critiquing photos to find who can "smize" the best or work a designer outfit like nobody's business. If you're meeting face-to-face, remember that it's not a runway show!

Instead, try applying the "Would I Puke If He Kissed Me?" test. If you are saying "Yes" to more than 10% of the men you see, call me up. We need to talk!

Give some grace to the bad photos, the mirror selfies (can we just ban those already?) and yes, even the "man with sedated tiger" photos. Give some grace to the needs-a-makeover outfits, less than perfect bodies and shorter-than-you-in-five-inch-heels guys.

Remember to give what you want to receive. Don't judge anyone more harshly than you would want to be judged. None of us is perfect!

2. Ask The Right Questions (Of Yourself)

Once he passes the "Puke" test, see what he has to say. Get clear on what it is you are looking for in a relationship (beyond the superficial things) and see if he is indicating that he is Ready, Able and Willing (R.A.W.) to provide those things for you.

Is he treating you with respect? Is he crazy about you? Is he making an effort to move the relationship forward and not just into the bedroom? If you value emotional intimacy, is he demonstrating he's R.A.W. for a deep emotional connection? If the answer is yes, give it chance. Not a 6-months-of-dating-someone-you're-not-attracted-to chance, but a date or two, or even three chance.

After a date, take an honest inventory. Did you enjoy yourself? Did he appear genuinely interested? Does he want to see you again? If he starts out the date in the 80%, but slides to a Bottom 10 by the end, you know it won't work out. But maybe, just maybe, there was movement in the other direction!

3. Look For The Good

You might have heard the saying "What you focus on expands" and that was never more true than in dating. When you meet someone in your Top 10 and the pheromones and synapses and are going, your focus is on your attraction and that becomes everything. It overrules the warning signs and the fact that maybe he went radio silent the last two times you were supposed to get together.

When the guy you're dating is still in your 80%, you have a great opportunity to focus on what's great about the other person without your judgment being clouded. Maybe you focus on how consistently he's pursuing you, or how smart he is, his passion for his work, how beautiful his eyelashes are or how great he is to talk to.

If you look for the good, you will find it. And it might be just good enough to start to generate that chemistry we all desire.

4. Don't Take Him For Granted

I challenge you to start dating the 80%. And I challenge you to appreciate these men and not to take their interest or affection for granted.

When your Top 10 looks your way, you are naturally excited. If a great guy in your 80% is interested in you, you should be just as excited by the possibility of what might develop.

Any self-respecting person is not going to continue to date or pursue someone who doesn't appreciate or respect them. Be sure that you're not passing up a great guy by being focused on what he is not. He won't stick around for long if you're not bringing the enthusiasm!

The 80% aren't all winners and they won't all be right for you, but dating is a numbers game. And there is no doubt that 80% is much better odds than 10%!

Happy Dating!