It is morning and you enter a crowded restaurant, pause and look around. Where should you sit? There are only two tables, each with a guy sitting across from and unoccupied chair.
The guy on the left is wearing a crisp polo shirt and black slacks. He’s eating a Salad Niçoise slowly and keeps glancing at his phone. He has a maroon briefcase with a white cloth folded on top of it. He raises his gaze and sees you. He smiles and offers the other chair.
The guy on the right is wearing a black shirt with a skull graphic in the center. He’s eating a Filet de Boeuf Sauce au Poivre. At his side is a black bag on the floor, but you can’t make out the shape. A worn copy of Carrie by Stephen King is on his table. He notices you when you come in, points to the chair in front of him and smiles.
Who do you choose?
It’s more important than just choosing where to sit for the morning.
You make assumptions based on your impressions of each guy.
What are those assumptions?
What can you tell about their personalities?
And more importantly, which of those personalities do you believe would best compliment you?
We’ve all seen the Charmed and Before Sunrise, laughing at the idea of finding love through horoscopes, personalities and compatibility tests. But these play a huge role in the decisions we make about friendships, partnerships, and relationships whether we realize it or not. There’s no such thing as not compatible. There’s only more compatible couple and less compatible couple.
In college, I had a friend whose personality was one-hundred percent the opposite of mine. Because of our differences, I shrugged her off countless times. I even promised myself that I’d never fall for a guy with the type of personality that my friend had. But eventually, she and I became very good friends. In fact, we’ve been the best of friends for almost ten years now.
Despite our differences, we found tons of similarities with each other. We started to joke that our personalities are so compatible to the point that if one of us was a guy, we’d be getting married after college. I learned to laugh at our differences. I also learned that compatibility is much more than similarities or differences in our personality. Ever since then, my friend’s personality has become my criteria in dating guys and years later I accidentally fell for a guy who has the same personality as her.
I’ve made unexpected discoveries about just how much compatibility plays a role in our day-to-day relationships with friends, family, and that special someone. My relationships have improved after applying what I learned from Personality Plus, a book by Florence Littauer about the four kinds of personalities. I’ve learned to understand people around me and easily read their personality. The book proved what I experienced with my college friend and the guy I eventually fell for.
Many prominent people have been teaching men and women to find their right match and to coexist with people we don’t get along.
And there are different ways that each categorizes and defines compatibility. Dr. Helen Fisher, the author and matchmaking consultant behind the dating website Chemistry.com, is focused on four temperaments to find dating compatibility.
Florence Littauer, known for her book Personality Plus, and Nicholas Boothman, the force behind matchedopposites.com, both have their own definition of the four basic personality types for compatibility. Still, others base compatibility on astrology like Linda Goodman in her New York Times bestseller, Love Signs.
Unfortunately, scientists and authors can’t always agree on an exact definition because it could be applied psychologically, astrologically and so many other ways.
People are psychologically compatible when their way of thinking matches and when they have complementary traits, values, beliefs, hobbies, or experiences. But that is where astrology comes into play and since our psychology and the characteristic of our astrological sign often contradict each, the fine line between them is blurred.
The personalities, temperaments and signs described in numerous books are very elaborate. They have different names and definitions, but they are all related. I’ve taken all the tests, studied the theories and experimented by applying them to people I know. I also had some of my friends take the test so I could compare the results.
What I’ve learned is that compatibility is the right combination of opposite qualities, and similar hobbies, principles, values, direction and qualities that will help a romantic relationship to grow mature and last longer. We are all looking for a key feeling, not someone.
We don‘t really fall for the guy, instead that guy complemented our personality by making us feel what we’ve been looking for. Compatibility serves the principle of completion. We need a certain feeling to be completed that is based on our personality.
The same idea applies to friendship. I choose to be around people with whom I get along and those who share my hobbies, values, and principles. Even if we have different personalities and astrological signs, these traits are based on a lot of similarities. Our differences and similarities complement each other and complete us.
Going back to the restaurant scenario, I’d choose the guy on the right because his choice of food might be an indication that he’s not that strict when it comes to his lifestyle. His black bag lying on the floor was a violin case and that complements my love of music and piano playing. We both loved reading mysteries and I enjoyed the book, the movie, and the musical, Carrie. These clues helped me make a quick decision about where I might like to enjoy my morning coffee.
Let me remind that yes, assumptions are not always right, but as people, it’s our nature to respond to something familiar. That is one way how a *lovemap works in people’s lives, through familiarity. That’s why abused people are prone in creating the same abusive relationships with other people. That’s why women tend to fall for a guy who’s like their father, and vice versa. Familiarity.
In the case above, I chose the one whom I feel more comfortable and familiar with. I can sit with the other guy eating Salad but in my mind, he seems too intimidating to me and it will pressure me to order something light. On the other hand, I can sit with the guy reading Carrie, at least in my mind, I can easily start a conversation with him and order something I’ll enjoy more. Or I can sit with other people who I might find less intimidating and more interesting. Now, that says a lot about my personality. How about you?
We can fall in love with a person who we have little similarities, but if he gave us the feeling we’re looking for, and we also gave him that feeling, then it’s a done deal. Some people don’t choose the person they end up with based on a personality all the time, but because they made them feel complete. Find who you are more compatible with because people with compatible personalities don’t have to work as hard as people with less compatible personalities. So still, kudos to the couples who are so different, but they made it work. After all, no matter how big or little the similarities are, one of the important ways to make a relationship work and stand the test of time, is how a couple handles their differences.
*Thusly marked words are defined on this LINK.