Fiction or Fact: Do Opposites Really Attract?
I saw a hilarious Facebook post the other day by author Abby Jimenez about personality differences in relationships. She was on a plane with her husband. Abby said that she apologized to everyone around her and tried to be as quiet as possible the whole time. On the other hand, her husband shared his beef jerky, and made friends with everyone to the point that she was like “I think he’s now in someone’s wedding!”
It cracked me UP! Mostly because this is one hundred percent Michael and me except the roles are reversed. He is a total introvert in situations like that, and I am the loud, nosey friend-maker everywhere we go. Some of the best interactions can happen in the grocery check-out aisle!
I know lots of other couples like this where one person is the social butterfly and the other would rather be the fly on the wall. So, it got me wondering if there is any truth to the idea that opposites attract. Was Paula Abdul correct about it being a "natural fact?"
According to Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus from Psychology Today, there are four main pillars of compatibility; worldview, basic activities, intimacy, and basic temperament. Scientific studies have shown that people typically seek compatibility in a partner. This essentially debunks the idea of opposites attracting. However, people who are different can still thrive together.
Basic temperament is where this introverted vs. extroverted discussion comes into play. Dr. Lazarus claims that these two types of people will not actually do well with each other as there could be disagreements as to how to spend their time. Not gonna lie, at the beginning of our relationship, I used to get SO ANNOYED with Michael when I would want to go out on the town and he claimed it was “too people-y” for him. But, you know what? I have since met some wonderful extroverted friends who also have introverted partners. So, we just leave them at home and do our thing!
Now, this is not to say that folks who are opposite in this way will have a bad relationship. Luckily, being compatible in the other three ways makes for a healthy pairing, but obviously, the less conflict two lovebirds have, the better. I think we have found a good compromise! Michael will make the effort to come with me when it is important to me. We find a way to make it fun and hopefully not overwhelming for him. I will change plans to stay home in my pajamas with him when he feels like being a hermit. I still have to give him grief about it sometimes though! And don't let him fool ya, he can absolutely be the life of the party when he feels like it!
There are definitely positives to being hitched to someone who is opposite from you in certain ways. When the focus is placed on how two people complement each other vs. how they differ, they can learn from each other. I would like to think I’ve taught Michael how to come out of his shell in certain situations just like he has taught me the importance of slowing down and staying in. I like to call him the string to my balloon! He keeps me grounded, and I sure do love him for that!
What about you? Are you an introvert who has to suffer social situations with your extroverted partner? Or are you the one begging your shy boo thang to go out where it is “too people-y?”