I write a lot about love and dating. Over the past year, I’ve had more conversations with my female peers in startups and entrepreneurship about these issues than any other topic. Very few young women in startups are in healthy relationships, but that doesn’t mean we don’t strive for them or thrive in them. For some reason, we have a hard time starting and building romantic relationships. I haven’t been able to work out the exact formula for why we have so much trouble but I am certain that it has a fair amount to do with men’s fears about who we are and what we do.
The seven statements bolded below are reasons that we kick ass. They were compiled with the help of a group of girls, some of whom I am close friends with and others whom I have never met in person. Together, we picked out the things that we feel make us not only unique, but also strong and powerful women. Importantly, they are also traits that help us build relationships. Hopefully, they will make you at least consider dating a Girl in Startups.
She enjoys taking risks. Deciding to start your own venture, or work for an early stage one, is attractive to people who are comfortable walking the line between massive success and failure, who see their $12,000 a year paycheck as a world of future possibilities, and who can’t stop pushing forward. Because of this, she is confident in her abilities. Her decisions reflect her as a person. Not only does she accept this, she owns it. She is hard to derail and she gets shit done. Big risks can yield big rewards, but she knows that she has to work her butt off to make it happen.
Whether she is building a deck or editing code, she can spend all night working because she has passion for what she does. She is dedicated to her work, family, friends, and relationships and when she sets her mind to something she sees it to the end. Sometimes this means she takes forever to answer your texts. But don’t worry — from pitching to VC’s to managing a cohort of interns, she knows what good communication looks like and can use it as much outside of work as she does in the office. If she’s not texting you, facebook messaging you, or sending a carrier pigeon every 15 minutes it is because she understands that the best communication is done in person. Bonus is, when you ask her how her day was, you’re actually curious because you have no clue what she was up to.
If you date a Girl in Startups you have to appreciate that she is obsessed with learning. She constantly searches for new information, tests new technologies and products, and is open to new perspectives. Intelligence turns her on, and she reads blogs and articles on tech and entrepreneurship like others read erotic literature. She may have finished college; it’s possible she dropped out. No matter her level of formal education, she’ll always be up for learning something new. Furthermore, she sees failure as one of the best ways to learn. She has learned to be resilient because she flirts with failure on a daily basis. For her, failure isn’t crippling but rather a chance to create something new. She won’t let little bumps throw her off track in her work or in her relationships.
Consider dating a girl in startups, but if you do, know that she won’t automatically make you #1. She is independent, self-sufficient, and will make you work to become a priority in her life. When she makes time for you, it’s because she cares.
*Thank you Sam, Melissa, Maddy, Robin, Becca, Shilpi, Stephanie, Arianna, Ryan and many more for your advice and criticism in writing this piece. I wanted to make sure that it came from the startup community, rather than just one woman’s brain.