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I was at the bar the other night and met two very cute, very nice girls living in town. Right after they ordered their first drinks, I entered in the computer system a tab for them. Most tabs I try to keep somewhat business like with names like "Corner" or "Couple" or "Glasses" or if I know the customer, their first name. When they sat down, I wrote "Hotness".

One girl had light brown hair with blonde highlights and stunning blue eyes. The kind of eyes that you can't help to stare at. The other was just as attractive, but in a darker more myterious way. Both happen to me roommates in our town, and, as I found out over the course of the night, they are both from the Philadelphia area. I did my best to entertain them, and they were easy to talk to and quick to laugh. By the end of the night, and about 6 drinks each later, I decide to ask some introspective questions their way. I ask the brunette, "What do you look for in a guy" question.

She turns to me and says, "I want a guy with a great personality, the kind of guy that I don't have to worry about walking into a bar and introducing him to everyone. I want someone who is personable and fun."

I said, "Ok, but that's kind of a standard, don't you think. No one really wants to meet a wall flower. What else?"

She adds, "I want a guy who is driven. That's very important to me."


Now the mechanics of my mind mull over that word. What is "Driven"?

Now, if you ask me, if a girl in Hoboken says "Driven" it becomes interpreted as, "I want a hardworking, successful boyfriend/future husband with money."

I responded, "So, you want a man who is successful. One who has a good job?"

She denied that money, or success, was important to her. Just that he had goals in his life.

The cynic in me kept quiet, so I then asked the girls in my life.

I emailed them, asking what they they thought it meant when a woman says, "I want someone who is driven." Some answers were verbose, and some I had to draw the answer out a bit. I also added if they thought that a schoolteacher or a cop, making 40k a year, would also be considered "driven".

Colleen*, who has a job in Marketing, said, "When a girl says driven, yes - some want the Wall Street jerk because being viewed as an object isn't as important to them as scoring Manolo boots and a house in Greenwich. Most girls who say driven mean a guy who has career goals, who is educated, who like going to the gym and keeping active, who want to be challenged. They don't have to be brokers or traders... They can be middle management guys at an advertising agency. So long as they aren't content working in the mailroom and sitting on the couch every night. Give women a little more credit than that. Just as you'd want me to believe not all guys are jerks and players, I want you to believe that not all girls are out for money and status. If that's what I want..... I'll earn it!!!!!! It really depends on the girl. Not all will want that. I've had friends who only want a guy who can afford to make them stay at home mommies. Other girls wouldn't complain if they fell into that life... But aren't necessarily gunning for it. Said females - myself included - would love to find a guy who has the nice Merrill Lynch job... But if their priority is to find a good guy, then who he is as a person takes precedence over how much money he pulls in. Let's face it. A guy can lose his job. Out go the expensive dinners and the Tiffany earrings and the vacations to Tahiti. In that instance, you're left with the guy himself.... And in that case, you'd better have picked right!"

Tina, who has a job in Finance, said, "Career and money driven is what I take from that....because no girl wants a school teacher who is making $40,000 but is DRIVEN, it's the money they are looking for...she wouldn't want a vet who LOVES his animals and is driven to save the world if he was making no isn't the guy who is in the peace corps DRIVEN to make the world a better place? Granted I certainly think there are some women who aren't after guys with money and those are usually either the school teachers or the women with high powered jobs that take care of themselves. "

My roommate, Kristen, said, "Someone who is driven is someone who has goals, like she said....someone who doesn't settle, usually strives for more, isn't happy with simply being content. I think a school teacher can be driven....I don't hear $ when I hear driven....I hear $ when I hear succesful. To me, the CFO of a major corporation, as much money as he might have, might not be driven....although you would think it takes a certain amount of dedication to work your way up the ladder...and I wouldn't say that someone who has a lower salaried job like a teacher isn't someone who is driven...."

EaglesGirl*, who works with animals for a living, said, "You can have goals but always achieve them but as long as you dont give up then you are driven remember success is not always measured by fame and fortune. To me driven is no matter how many times life knocks you down you keep getting back up."

Katia*, a urban professional with a graduate degree said, "I think it means she wants someone with a career and a job and goals. I think its both a level of achievement and monetarily related. Cop, sure, they can climb the ladder and measure their goals, to be detectives, for example. Teacher, not so much because there are no "levels". A college professor or doctor - that's different. I think its both successful and money related. I won't date a guy who makes less than 50k (but consider that i'm a working professional, myself, when I say that!). I think most women want more because they make less."

LawyerGirl* said, "There are undriven men (people) who are successful; they are those who got everything handed to them on a silver platter for whatever reason (they are attractive, have the right name/family, they are naturally smart, etc.). These people don't have to work hard, and basically just want to coast. Things come easy to them. These people are content with low-and mid-level jobs and don't have any desire to improve their lot because it requires too much x (where x equals time, effort, etc.). I know people making into the 6 figures that are not driven. Are they successful? By what defintion of sucess? Money may be an indicia of success, but it is not the only arbiter of success.

A corollary to that is that there are driven people that are unsuccessful, such as the inventor always working on his next great invention, and none of his inventions ever seems to pan out. Driven men (people) work hard and want to advance, in whatever they do. And yes, many women, myself included, think being driven is attractive in a man. A driven cop will want to be the best cop he can be and maybe be captain. He will work hard to achieve his goals. A driven teacher wants to be the best teacher they can be by whatever standards there are, improve the teaching methods in their department, and maybe advance to be department head or principal. Are these two "successful"? Maybe, depending on your definition. They certainly aren't going to bring home buckets of cash, but they are driven.

I see "driven" in people as a fire in the eyes and a hunger in the belly...."

Phaedrak*, a long time reader of this site, emailed back to me: "I mostly link driven with career or purpose and think of someone who is very focused and dedicated to a particular job/purpose. Certainly the point of being driven is to achieve a measure of success. Right now I have a friend who left her pretty successful Hollywood career to start a foundation to bring potable water to an area of Africa. She is probably more driven about achieving that than she ever was as an executive.

She may have meant being goal oriented and also challenging yourself. Not resting on your laurels, I guess. Success is accomplishing your goal, but a lot of times, success can be found just as much in the effort, right? Take the marathon - loads of people just competed in their first marathon in NYC and some did not get to finish, but I would consider them successful for just going for it. I wouldn't personally say that someone is "driven" to run a marathon, but I guess I could see where someone might perceive that undertaking such challenges would be driven. On the other hand, if the girl was trendy and decked out in designer duds, I would probably assume she meant "I want a guy who will someday make a lot of money, i.e. be successful" But I consider a lot of women to be annoying that way."

*Some names changed for anonymity. Everyone quoted gave me permission to quote them.

After reading all these responses, it did make me think a bit. First, I think if a person says they want someone who is driven, they better be driven themselves. Its like saying "I want to meet a thin, athletic girlfriend" while you are 30 pounds overweight and haven't been to a gym since the Regan administration.

But I still think it is a canned answer. Much like saying "I want someone who can make me laugh!". I mean, come on, that's just one of those "roll your eyes answers". Do people want someone who is droll and introverted? No, I think everyone thinks of themselves as outgoing and interesting, but to each in their own way.

For me, my drive is about just living a comfortable lifestyle but not letting work overtake me. The fact that I work two jobs, to me, says that I have a drive and goals - I want to buy a condo. I would like to earn more money for a downpayment, so I bartend once a week for the last four years. I have been very good at saving my money, within reason, and fully expect if the market takes a reasonable correction, I will be able to afford something in Hoboken or simply have a nice nest egg saved when I move out. So, I guess my current goal is fiscal security.

I wouldn't call myself driven with regards to work. I certainly find my drive goes into overdrive when I work on goals that are important to me. My corporate job simply isn't something that consumes my life. I consider it a means towards an end. Work = money. Money = comfortable lifestyle. But, I have no interest in working 80 hour work weeks. I know plenty of people who do that, make a tremendous amount of money and are miserable.

If I learned anything growing up it was that money doesn't make you happy. Only you can find that happiness within yourself.

What do you think Driven means?


Ooooo good question.

I've always interpreted the concept of "personal drive" as being the type of person that says "i want to" more often than they say "i have to".

For example: "No, I can't meet up tonight for drinks, I want to get an extra hour in at work to finish up some projects." As opposed to: "Sorry, I can't meet up tonight for drinks, I have to stay late at work because I'm behind".

I think it's just a general attitude thing that is attractive to many women because it exhibits control and a sense of self-awareness. That sends a strong message to a girl that you could a) be a positive influence on her and b) that she'll never have to worry about your self-esteem. As much as girls are stereotyped as nurturers, they don't want to do it to often to someone that they are trying to rely on.

The power and money that being "driven" can result in has the bonus of also being attractive to women on a different level. Two birds with one stone, I guess.

I think driven can also mean, I am in love and want to be with my family. after all in the end how are you remembered...... not by how many hours you put in at the office but how you were as friend and if you are lucky enough to have a family.

P.S. on the whole cop teacher thing -- BULLSHIT, both great jobs, they did it for the love of the job, and yes they are driven by different values!!!!

Kathleen- you make a good point. But I also want to be remembered as someone who provided well for my family. :)

As for cops/teachers - they might have done it to abuse power/have summers off, no?

not to be the cynic, but when a girl says she's looking for someone "driven" or "with goals", it means she wants someone with a decent education (read: name school) and on the path to financial security and success (read: will be wealthy).
If she meant family focused, solid character, decent values, fulfilling and honorable job, she would have said that.

I have to agree with Janine on this one. Being driven is a very personal thing, and when first meeting someone you don't get into the different types of "drive" that motivates each one of us individually. Very rarely do you come across people who would say they are driven to be the best husband/wife or father/mother, and certainly not upon first meeting him/her. Drive is a measure of success at a job -- no one is driven toward mediocrity, at least not publically. In today's world (especially in New York, as I have found out in my two years living here), success = money, no question. And being driven is a quality that leads one to that end.

The thing about someone claiming they look for someone who is drive is that as a word, 'driven' is too objective...
To some, it might mean someone who has the inner fire to push themselves to be the best at what they do, no matter what the career is..
To others, it might simply mean someone who is motivated to make a lot of money..

It really comes down to asking the individual to explain what they mean by it.. To me, being 'driven' simply means wanting to be successful both monetarily and careerwise and have a comfortable lifestyle. For all we know, that girl who said that was merely saying she wanted someone who makes a lot of money in a non-offensive way... If only you asked her to elaborate, furey.... Guess we'll never know!

Obviously I can't say for sure what those ladies meant, but knowing what females out and about in Hoboken are often interested in, I can make a guess. And yes, when it comes down to it, they are probably talking about career and money (in particular).

But I'd like to add that I also guess that women who responded and said that "driven" is more than just money are not the kind who would actually use it when describing what they look for.

Thom makes an excellent point. When asked what I look for, here are my criteria:

"A man who says "bless you" when I sneeze."

Anyone know the reference? :)

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on November 7, 2006 12:14 AM.

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