Similarity Vs Compatibility: Which Makes For A Better A Relationship?

Everybody is looking for something different in their potential partner. Some of us want a partner who brings comfort and a relationship where we can simply snuggle up on the couch and watch movies. The dream is to have a laidback and drama-free life during which we can simply enjoy each other's company. Essentially, we're looking for a partner who is similar to us. Others might find this easy-going relationship a bit boring.

These people want something slightly more challenging and exciting. They're seeking someone who balances them out with a different, or even entirely opposed, personality. They don't mind casual debates over fictional characters and food. In fact, they might even welcome these little arguments because they offer a new perspective that can help them grow and change. The people in category two value compatibility over similarity.

And then there are those in category three who want the best of both worlds. Most people tend to fit into the first type. After all, we've been taught by the media that we should try to find the Jim to our Pam, and not necessarily the Dwight to our Angela. But you may be surprised to learn that a relationship between dissimilar people could thrive just as much the opposite. But, of course, the secret to making it work lies in compatibility.

Why compatibility in a relationship is more important

It's easy to mistake similarity for compatibility or to think that only people who are really alike are truly compatible. Even the most similar couples can be incompatible. For instance, consider that if you're both leaders you won't be able to accept your partner taking charge. In reality, compatibility runs a lot deeper than similarity. Speaking to Paired magazine, Dr. Jacqui Gabb, professor of sociology and intimacy at The Open University, explained the term as: "When you share the same mindset [and] when you connect with the other person on a deeply intimate level."

She continued, "It means that how you approach life, and the values and qualities that you cherish are shared." To feel that way about someone, you don't necessarily have to share similar viewpoints on every little thing. Although compatibility can keep a relationship afloat, similarity is often a more solid foundation. We're naturally attracted to people who are like us, which is good because it enables us to find common ground to bond over. 

But it's worth noting that this kind of attraction can only take you so far. Every relationship should be able to withstand the occasional disagreement over differing opinions, but not being able to understand and relate to each other on a fundamental level is a deal breaker. Without that compatibility and inherent understanding, you might not be able to push the relationships through tough times or form a meaningful connection in the long run. 

What does compatibility in a relationship look like?

Since compatibility is easy to mistake for similarity, it's important to know what it truly looks and feels like. Compatibility can depend on several factors, including how you text each other, and while it's not realistic to expect someone to tick all the boxes in order to feel a connection, it's good to have the basics down. As corny as it sounds, when you feel compatible with someone, it'll just click that you're meant to be together.

You'll feel like you can be your true self around them without the fear of judgment or being asked to change. You'll be able to see a future together because you want the same things. And, although you don't necessarily have to agree on everything, it's always good if your core values are aligned to keep the relationship moving forward. Compatibility doesn't mean you'll never argue, but when you do, it won't feel like you've suffered through some huge ordeal. 

Although compatibility is an essential ingredient in any healthy relationship, the ability to compromise could be even more crucial. Regardless of similarity and compatibility, there are obviously going to be times when you'll disagree, and compromise will get you through them while still protecting your love. It's also important to know which polarizing opinions are dealbreakers. If you don't feel comfortable with the way your partner feels about politics, drugs, alcohol, religion, etc., you should consider if you want to continue the relationship.