‘Opposites attract’ has been the old adage bandied about and repeated for generations, but is it no longer true? When we meet someone with similar interests, opinions and tastes, does it not endorse our own personality and in turn heighten our self esteem?
Recent work challenges the ‘opposites attract’ approach claiming that individuals who are more alike will end up together creating a new ‘likes attract’ approach. This new research shows that if an individual rates him or herself high on physical attractiveness for example, then they will desire a partner who also scores high in that area.
In his best selling book ‘Getting the love you want – a guide for couples’, Harville Hendrix says when we meet we “size each other up as coolly as business executives contemplating a merger, noting each others physical appeal, financial status and social rank, as well as various personality traits such as kindness, creativity and sense of humour. With computer like speed we tally up each others scores and if the numbers are roughly equivalent the trading bell rings and the bidding begins”. He calls this the ‘exchange theory’. He says that we select mates who are more or less our equals.
As we are attracted to those who make us feel good many of us also like those who simply like us and make an effort to get to know us. This is especially true amongst people with low self worth as discussed by Curtis and Miller in their 1986 article ‘Believing another likes or dislikes you: behaviour making the beliefs come true’.
So......are we a new generation of 'Likes Attract' or are many of us still drawn to what is missing within ourselves?