I have been hearing the phrase "opposites attract" since I was young. So that's always what I've been looking for in my relationships. For example, while I am a nice person, I have always been looking for my opposite, guys who are very, very mean to me. While I am employed, I look for guys who live on my couch and mooch of me. You know the drill, totally normal "attracted to opposites" stuff, right?
But some Scientists who wanted to help me with my love life probably got to thinking: is it true? Do opposites really attract?
It turns out the answer is no.
The study found that "friends and spouses tend to be similar in a broad range of characteristics, such as age, educational level, race, religion, attitudes, and general intelligence." Or, as they put it simply, birds of a feather flock together.
The study was conducted using people's digital footprints, otherwise known as the data they leave behind on Facebook. In case you don't know, every move you make on the Internet (whether it's done on Facebook or not) is recorded on Facebook so that they have an idea of your personality, and what makes you you. Creepy, I know. But this is used for things like targeting ads, figuring out algorithms for what should show up in your feed, and helping you find a boyfriend, evidently.
It's helpful in friendship and relationships
The study found that “As it turns out, the great majority of our interactions are with people who are a lot like us.” Why might this be?
Well, think about it. If your favorite food is tacos, you don't want to date someone who HATES Mexican food. If you love horror movies, you don't want to date someone who's afraid of the dark. While we might be initially attracted to people who are different from us because we find them challenging, ultimately those relationships might not prove compatible in terms of longevity.
So instead of picking that bad boy, maybe pick the guy who you can actually have long talks with because you have things in common.
Science says that's who you'll really end up with at the end of the day.
It's also helpful in business
This phenomenon works well around the office, too. Why? Because “in a team, you need some thinkers, some doers, some leaders, and some followers. All those labels are good for management nonscientists. But it wasn’t understood before now that you should or could be matching people based on personalities.”
While every person in an office should serve a distinct purpose, in order to have a productive and positive office environment, everyone should have similar personality types. That means every so often, people actually WANT to hang out and get lunch together. Surprising, I know. So while recruiting or hiring, it's important to take these things in mind.
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