Is Dating Someone Just Like You a Good Idea? 

Do people with similar personalities get along? Why is it a bad idea to date someone similar to you in every way?

Dating someone just like you may seem like a good idea, but it’s not. A relationship between similar personalities has no room for growth. Instead, you should look for someone who has a complementary personality—similar enough to get along yet different enough to challenge you.

Here’s why dating your like is a bad idea.

Choose a Complementary Partner

Many of us assume we’ll be happy with someone who has a similar personality—but research doesn’t support this finding. Dating someone just like you is a recipe for a dead-end relationship. Rather, find someone who helps you be your best self. For example, if you’re set in your ways, someone who’s adventurous might pull you out of your shell and help you try new things. 

(Shortform note: Researchers add that someone with a complementary personality might make a better long-term partner because they’re good at the things you struggle at. For example, an extroverted partner might enjoy talking to the kids’ teachers, while an introverted partner might be better at helping with the kids’ math homework.) 

How Societal Expectations Harm Our Search for Love

By focusing on our tendencies to prioritize immediate benefits and to assume that attention-grabbing qualities matter, Ury implies that our inability to look for the right qualities in a long-term partner is an innate human flaw. However, one blogger suggests that we’re unable to find the right partner due to damaging societal expectations

If we could study how to find and create healthy relationships the way we study how to create a business—such as by analyzing what worked in the past and implementing changes in the future—we could improve our ability to find good partners. But since society encourages us to approach love instinctually instead of logically, we don’t learn how to find good partners and thus choose bad ones.

Societal expectations can also harm your relationship if you do choose to date someone you’re extremely attracted to—if you perceive that person to be more attractive than you are. This perception, which is often fueled by how others treat your relationship, may lead to insecurity on your part and thus a less happy relationship. 

How to Date Properly 

Once you meet someone promising, how do you maximize your chances of discovering whether they’re the right person for you? According to dating coach Logan Ury, you should do these three things:

  • Set realistic, but positive, expectations. You must be realistic because too many of us expect too much from our first date. We want to feel an instant connection, but such a connection is rare—partly because we tend to like something (or someone) more the more we encounter it. So don’t discount your date just because you don’t feel an instant connection with them; remember that feelings can grow. 
  • Design a great first date. When dating, your goal is to figure out how a person makes you feel—so it’s essential to go on dates that promote natural connections (instead of ones that encourage you to quiz each other). Try doing something creative together: You’ll have fun and might learn whether your date has the qualities you’re looking for. For example, if you take a pottery class and your date can’t follow the instructor, do they continue trying anyway (indicating a growth mindset)?
  • Always go on the second date. We’re primed to judge our dates harshly, partly because we’ve evolved to pay more attention to negative things, so we tend to focus on their flaws rather than their strengths. By creating a rule that you’ll always go on a second date, you allow yourself more time to see if a connection will develop and to find more positive qualities that might outweigh the flaws.
Is Dating Someone Just Like You a Good Idea? 

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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