don't tell professional women what they can or can't do

Dating Strong Professional Women: Don’t Tell Us What We Can Or Can’t Do

I know many professional women with various dating stories that will make anyone shake their heads as to the craziness out there. As for me, with my two graduate degrees, I’ve been told that I can be really intimidating to the other gender. I’ve also been told that I’m too picky, need to be more open and nicer to guys, because, hey, I’m kind of scary to approach.

OK FINE.  So over the past few years, I’ve dated all kinds of guys, with all education levels, all sorts of jobs, and different races.  I’ve made the first move, I’ve done the asking out, I’ve tried to do whatever I can to be open and not-so-scary.

The result: still no relationship, and a lot of criticism about my job.


It seems that really being “open” and putting yourself out there makes people think they have the right to an opinion about what I do and how much I work.

I have a couple of examples of this to share…and to be honest these are definitely the worst I’ve had to deal with.

A little background

Both of the guys I’m about to tell you about, I ended up meeting because of my parents.  They were visiting me and whenever they do, my mom insists that we visit the temple.  So we did and the parents of both of these guys happened to be there.  Since my parents were obviously new faces, they started talking just to say hi, and the conversation evolved into: “oh your daughter? she’s single? I have a son her age that’s also single.”

The guys

I don’t want to go into too much detail about either of them. But, one of them is a couple years younger than me, is not in the medical field, and is attempting to start a side gig. We’ll call him Guy 1.

Guy 2 is in the medical field (same one as me) and currently works in a different city the majority of the time, but spends a couple of days per week back home.

Guy 1: Oh, you should just quit your job.

On our first phone conversation, he kept hammering the fact that I was born in India, and couldn’t believe that I was now a doctor here.  I’m not sure how either of those two is related, and why it matters, but that was a good chunk of our conversation, and I literally had no idea how to respond.

Fast forward to actually meeting…at some point during dinner, he asked me more about my job, the hours I worked etc.  So I describe that I generally just assume that I’ll be at work for 12 hours, and if I get done early its a bonus.  I explain that there are days when I am expected to be late, and then thats just how it is.  I said it pretty matter-of-factly, not complaining, no negativity.  In response he says “I would just quit”.

I was speechless.  I’ve never had anyone say something like that to me before.  I explained to him that, as a resident, my hours were way worse, and what I was doing now was an improvement.  I said that I had most of my weekends off and really it wasn’t all that bad.  He just shook his head and kept repeating “I would quit”.

Guy 2: You shouldn’t work so much

We work in the same field.  He’s fellowship trained, and therefore pretty sub-specialized, plus a few years older than me.  During our first phone conversation we were talking late in the evening (around 9pm or so).  When I told him I had to go to bed soon, his response was to make fun of me, tell me I work too much and that I need to rethink what I do and where I work.

At first, I thought he had just lost insight given that he’s farther removed from his residency training than I am.  However, his commentary and remarks on my work occurred during every conversation.  In fact, every conversation happened late at night.  Not once was he courteous enough to ask if I had the time to talk, nor did he bother to keep the conversations short.

Needless to say, I stopped answering his phone calls.

Note to Guys About Professional Women

If you find your job important and your goals and aspirations worth pursuing, I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone, who barely knows you, to hand you opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do.  So in return, take a moment to understand and appreciate what your date is doing for herself before you dump your worthless opinions onto her.

Yea, I’m angry

Writing this post brings up the same anger I felt when I was dealing with Guys 1 and 2.

I’ve gone through 17 years of school and training.  Yes, it sucks sometimes.  Yes, I sometimes wonder if what I’m doing is worth it, and yes, the medical field has its issues and concerns in regard to physician health and happiness.  Yes, I’m sure it’s hard for you to understand why I work so much, especially if you don’t.


Instead of assuming, ASK;

Instead of projecting what you think, ASK

Ask me what exactly I WANT to do and WHY I’m doing it.  Ask me what my own personal goals and aspirations are. And when you do ask, ask with an open mind, and not with a mind that’s already made up.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be subjected to assumptions and unwanted opinions, so do us professional women the same courtesy.

In fact here are some other things you can do:

Rather than making me defend my job and my accomplishments, try to congratulate me.

Instead of bringing me down and telling me what I shouldn’t do, try to let me know that you’re impressed by what I CAN do

Get to know me before you judge me.

Support me and encourage me instead of dragging me down.

Understand my hopes for the future and help me talk about them and plan for them rather than brush them away

Building Us up will not mean that you will be put down; in fact, it will make you stronger, because by supporting strong Professional women, you’ll gain Their support in return.

Final Thoughts

To all the professional women out there who struggle, your career success is not something you need to hide. Please don’t downplay your accomplishments either. I’ve done both of these things and it just makes it worse.

My career is a huge part of who I am, as I’m sure its the same for you. Rather than settle, we need to wait for the types of people who are willing to reach us where we are. Compromise is part of every relationship, and no nothing is perfect, but I do think we need to wait for the respect and the value that we deserve to have.

Do you have a similar dating story? Share below!

Photos courtesy of unsplash

Similar Posts