The job listing method is something I invented in early 2015, during my prime of online dating. Sorting through mass amounts of profiles proved to be arduous and uninspiring, especially since I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I was looking for. So I sat down one night and developed a simple list of my criteria: loves, likes, and dislikes. Then I added a few other things, like how far I was willing to travel to see someone and what age range I was comfortable with. When I was finished, I looked over what I had done and thought, Well, damn, it looks like I’m looking for an employee. And that’s when the light bulb went off: That is precisely what dating is.

Think of yourself as a multibillion-dollar corporation. You, of course, are the CEO. Sure, you might have some family and friends on your board of trustees but ultimately this is your company. You have worked your ass off building this thing from the ground up into the successful, highly revered and above all, precious entity that it is. So, are you going to consider hiring any random schmo for your executive suite just because they took a selfie with a tiger?

Creating the job listing makes it clear who qualifies, who doesn’t and who seems like a decent fit to work in maintenance or perhaps even as an intern. At any given time, you could be looking for people to fill several different positions and if so, make a unique listing for each. Maybe you’re looking for a friend with benefits, a phone buddy, a mentor, a financial sponsor and/or a life partner. The clearer you can be about what qualities make up the right candidates, the fewer opportunities the wrong ones will have to waste your time. I firmly believe you can have a relationship with anyone, but I also believe you need to be realistic about what kind of relationship that person is capable of successfully having with you. In the romantic department, most people are simply searching for a long-term partner and if you’re new to this, that’s where you should start. Don’t get lured into opening more complex positions like friends with benefits unless you are disciplined enough to see beyond any biologically induced passion that isn’t based on your logical needs. Relationships built on proximity, availability or mutual loneliness are not the goal of this book, and, as a matter of fact, they are The Game of Desire’s nemesis.

Sadly, I’ve worked with so many people who made the mistake of promoting their plumber to their executive suite simply because that person knew how to lay the pipe. So if you feel yourself making this mistake, review your listing for a long-term lover and remind yourself that your loyalty needs to be reserved for the success of your company, not for the company you keep.

I invite you to participate in this activity. Go ahead and shuffle this list around until it is arranged from what’s most to least important to you in a romantic partnership:

Once you have finished ranking, take a second to analyze your Frozen Five. Then look at your bottom five. Do you see any patterns that jump out? Also, try comparing your previous romantic partners against this ranking—would they qualify, if you knew then what you do now?

Excerpted from The Game of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating with Dominance —and Getting What You Want. Copyright © 2019 by Shan Boodram. Published by Dey Street Books.