Opposites Attract or Birds of a Feather?

What do people find attractive? Do opposites attract, or do birds of a feather flock together? Are people more attracted to a carbon copy or a polar opposite? Well, it is a little of each.

Opposites Do Attract

Opposites attract is always true for magnets and often true for people. For example, as you probably have seen first hand, extremely outgoing people are often attracted to the shy, quiet type and vice versa. Often people with different love languages end up together. People are often attracted to people who have strengths and weaknesses complementary to their own. And this, within reason, is a good thing. This allows you to help each other in your weak areas.

Be Careful Though

Where this becomes a problem is when the good girl is consistently attracted to the bad boys. It can also be a problem, though not an insurmountable one, when someone is attracted to someone of a different denomination or even a different religion. There are instances where couples make this work, but those differences are a lot harder to overcome than a relationship where the difference is, say, one likes seafood and one does not. So, this is an area where some caution is warranted.

Another thing to be careful of if you are attracted to someone who is your opposite is that the very difference you find attractive and interesting in the beginning often becomes the thing that irritates you after a few years of marriage. The calm, quiet demeanor you found irresistible when dating can become the passiveness that drives you crazy. The frugal, wise spender you admired can become the cheapskate you resent. I’m not saying that it does not work. I’m just saying to be aware and carefully consider the implications.

Birds of a Feather Do Flock Together

But, there is also a lot of truth in the saying that birds of a feather flock together. In fact, it is often a common interest that helps two people bond. That was the case for me and my wife. We share a love for the outdoors, bicycling, and hiking which put us on the path to friendship and gradually bonded us together into a couple.

Of course, there were other commonalities too, like similar temperaments, spirituality, and worldviews. Most people find few things more attractive than someone who looks like them and thinks like them – that is if they like themselves.

Good and Bad

But, this can also lead to problems. If you both have the same weaknesses, it can be more difficult to make progress in those areas. Also, boredom with the familiar and predictable can creep in. And of course, we tend to not realize how irritating we can be – until we are married for a while to someone just like us.

That being said, intimacy can be so much sweeter with someone with whom you have a lot in common. Those shared spaces are places of safety where the two of you can come together intellectually and emotionally to find understanding, appreciation, and connection.

The Balance

If you do find yourself attracted to someone who is your opposite or your clone, what do you do? Think it through carefully. In what areas are you willing to be challenged? In what areas would it be helpful to have a spouse who has a strength that complements your area of weakness? Where would differences drive you apart instead of compliment each other? What are some areas where you should have common interests? What are some areas where a person who is your complete opposite would drive you crazy?

Attraction Myth

There is a myth that who you find attractive and fall in love with is beyond your control. Don’t buy into this kind of thinking. You can decide what and who you find attractive. You can decide in what areas you need to be in agreement, in what areas disagreement is okay, and in what areas it is good to have complimentary strengths and weaknesses.

And, you can do a lot to make yourself attractive to the kind of person you want to attract. Or, as Andy Stanley so eloquently puts it in The New Rues for Love, Sex, and Dating – become the person the person you’re looking for is looking for.

That is not to say that you put on some act or wear some sort of disguise to fool someone into being attracted to you. Few things are less attractive than being fake. But if for instance, you want to attract someone who is physically fit, you may want to consider getting in better shape yourself. Or, if you want to marry someone reasonably intelligent, you might want to read a book now and then.

So…

Are you attracted to your opposite, people just like you, or some combination thereof?

And, do you believe that you have control over who you are attracted to?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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Check back often. I will have much more about how to be attractive in the coming weeks and months. To see what I have written so far, click here. Or better yet, subscribe so you won’t miss a post. And, don’t keep it all to yourself. Be sure to share anything you find valuable with singles you know.

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