We have probably heard the well-known statement “opposites attract” at least once in our lives , especially when it comes to partnerships. But you have also often heard that “every bird flies to its flock . ” The fact is that both claims make it clear that the role of similarity in relationships is not at all a simple matter.
Below, find out what the differences in partnership really mean and how important the similarities really are in order for the relationship to survive.
The opposites are attracted – what does psychology say?
Most research in social psychology has come to the same conclusion, and this is one that only partially confirms the claim that opposites are drawn. In other words, we still prefer to connect with people who are similar to us and who share our values and interests. But some experts say that we may still be more interested in complementarities .
In the mid-1950s, sociologist Robert Francis Winch argued that when it came to personality traits, it was completely irrelevant whether similarity was already complementary . Based on studies by spouses, he suggested that individuals join those who possess the personality traits they lack. Thus, an assertive woman would be more likely to attract a docile man, while an extroverted man would attract an introverted woman.
For example, we are likely to be more interested in people who are similar in affiliation (warm people will be attracted to the same people, while cooler people are likely to get along better with cold people) and opposite in dominance and control (dominant people are likely to attract someone who is submissive) . However, we might expect that everyone, regardless of their personality, will prefer positive traits to other people.
Considering that there are numerous researches in this area, and consequently numerous inconsistent results , it is only clear that satisfied romantic couples in their relationship show more similarities than opposites. However, this does not necessarily mean that these couples were very similar from the beginning, but that over time they received behavioral patterns from each other, which is also a common occurrence (because as they say “who you are, you are like that”).
However, if we just think a little more secularly on this subject, we can clearly see that we are more likely to meet someone on the basis of similarity . For example, if you go to a concert of your favorite artist and meet your partner there, it would mean that you are already sharing preferences for the same type of music at the beginning. In other words, if we were to meet anyone at all, we would need to be in at least some similar circumstances.
But despite the inconsistent research findings, if you were raised with Disney fairy tales, you are forgiven for believing that opposites are always drawn (as was the case with Beauty and the Beast, for example). However, the idea of attracting the opposite seems to be rooted in the film industry as well. One study found that nearly 80% of people believe in the claim that opposites are attracted , and in reality, all evidence seems to claim that such attraction is very rare.