Ask if, as a sponsor, they listen-to-understand (just right) or prefer to tell stories (too hot) or read from the literature (too cold). I will be baring my spirit, repeatedly, happily, with gusto or dragging my heels. I can uncover their style by asking if they listen-to-understand and then by practicing through some general conversation over a couple of introductory meetups or after-meeting sessions. I have suffered from know-it-all-itis most my life and only in the program have I been able to be of quiet humble service. I learned how to be quieter from a sponsor with great listening skills and a knowing smile.
 Ask how long they have had the physical recovery that has drawn me to them. From what I’ve read in our (OA and AA) literature, enduring sponsors typically average 10 years. In my hometown of Seattle, my sponsor has 20+ years of recovery, and most of that time has had a sponsor of their own. I have had a couple of sponsors relapse and both said that was likely connected to their being without their own sponsor for a few months. I’m not saying it is always this way, and I am saying, having an enduring example with a sponsored-sponsor bolstered my own experience while deepening my connections into the OA community.
 Choose someone of whatever gender you aren’t attracted to. For most people this is obvious, and yet for someone as deeply-addicted and in-denial as I was, it was super-easy for me to say, “I can work with either gender, I’m a parent, not a sexist”…until the 4th and 5th step. When I came to this part of our program, my serenity unraveled, and I quickly realized I had all kinds of feelings that I was projecting into our relationship. I encourage experienced sponsors only do the short-term (less than a month) type of sponsoring if there is any risk of romance. New sponsors seem to need to learn this lesson themselves, and for them I offer to listen to understand how they feel and ask what they might do differently next time.
So, my two cents? We all have an opportunity to engage our next sponsor with some foresight into happier outcomes based on gender, listening skills, and length of recovery. Sponsors enjoy more agape-love and gratitude when they can give and receive as a sponsor, and less as buddy or flirt.
In Service to the Good of OA,
Avi R. - Region 1