Do opposites attract? The fact as well as the fiction behind the misconception

The accepted concept that opposites draw in provides pervaded common society and social thinking concise that it is today a commonly held opinion. However, now an evergrowing base of research has discovered and deconstructed this legend. We explore the outcomes and weigh-in with the specialists to find out if opposites carry out truly attract, or repel, in relationships.

From Billy Joel crooning about an uptown girl desiring a the downtown area man, cute girl, the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, Beauty together with Beast, the Cinderella fairytale, and a whole lot more, we have been advised this tale of opposite interest across several mediums as differing as Shakespearean literature to Disney flicks.

The irresistibly enchanting tale of not likely really love defeating the chances is now a beloved storyline possesses turned into a commonly held belief which describes this personal and natural occurrence. But that is additionally the way we explain a myth1. The trouble with a myth is the fact that facts are often unsubstantiated, based somewhat on populated view, easy to believe but inadequate the data to confirm it.

Magnetic attraction: perform opposites actually draw in in relationships?

to get at the base of the secret of do opposites actually attract, we brought in some heavy-hitting professionals. Talking with EliteSingles, Dr. David Stillwell, Deputy Director of Psychometrics within Cambridge assess company School during the University of Cambridge and Dr. Angela Bahns, Professor of mindset at Wellesley College, unpack their own understanding from top clinical tests in therapy and destination today of matchmaking and connections.

Dr. Stillwell, co-author of the study wild birds of a feather do head collectively: behavior-based individuality examination approach reveals personality similarity among couples and buddies, investigated personality similarities, using conduct and vocabulary in romantic partners and buddies on social networking. He explains that doing this aspect there clearly was proof for similarity in associates across age, training and socio-economic degree, cleverness and principles; but similarity hadn’t yet been established in character traits2.

Using the Big Five Model of character, the analysis tracked the electronic tasks of 295 320 players on Facebook determine their unique parallels and differences3. When answering our very own concern would opposites truly bring in, viewing individuality is significant psychological construct in appeal and relationships.

The Big Five style of Personality could be the top personality product in scholastic study, calculating characteristics across five proportions: openness to have, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Exclusive share with this research would be that earlier research used peer and self-reported surveys to measure and compare character traits, whereas, inside research, the individuals’ behavior had been examined, the removal of the ‘reference class result’ of researching yourself to other individuals in your environment. By circumventing this constraint, they were capable demonstrate a brand new plus precise outcome.

What the research conclusively found is opposites dont actually entice, rather there ended up being an important similarity in character between pals and passionate partners3, dispelling the myth that opposites attract with systematic analysis taken straight from present internet based personal environment. Dr. Stillwell informed EliteSingles, “Our unique sum were to show that as soon as you assess individuality based on behavior (what folks talk about using the internet, or whatever they ‘like’ on fb), that personality is comparable after all”2, concluding that wild birds of a feather would certainly flock together.

Taking a look at practical question of contrary destination in interactions from another type of angle we in addition spoke to Dr. Bahns regarding case of do opposites truly entice or otherwise not. She’s a researcher and co-author inside the study Similarity in interactions as a niche development: Choice, balance, and effect within dyads in a totally free choice planet, which investigated similarity in connecting sets across a range of elements, from prices to leisurely activity. The investigation revealed that the sets in research mostly provided comparable opinions and verified that similar individuals are interested in each other4. She explains “similarity-seeking in interactions is actually goal-driven, and many individuals, selecting based on similarity fulfills their own goals of comfort, familiarity, and predictability”5.

Summing up the expert viewpoint and study results, the legend of face-to-face attraction has-been discredited. In reality, behavior relationships and personality characteristics in attraction commonly driven, like the positive and negative fees of a magnet by bringing in the alternative, but rather in relationships distinctions can repel, generating genuine the adage like attracts like.

A case for opposites attract: plus and minus can equal love

Although a majority of enough time people are attracted to others who are like themselves, you will find nevertheless a situation are created for whenever opposites attract crazy and connections. Thoughts, conduct, and connections tend to be way too intricate to use one legislation of attraction to all the there tend to be exclusions to each and every rule. Then when would opposites attract?

Dr. Bahns says that although similarity-seeking is extremely typical, some individuals would look for interactions with people that happen to be different to them. Folks are motivated by special drives, various characters come across varied characteristics appealing, and varied commitment conditions interesting. It really is section of the thing that makes up a multicolored continuum on the person experience, in the place of present only in a monochrome predictability of monochrome regulations of engagement.

Outlining that prices and inspiration are two important aspects whenever opposites can bring in, Dr. Bahns mentioned: “my research shows that individuals whom treasure assortment and know the benefits variety has to offer are more likely to choose friends and partners being distinctive from them”. She goes on to describe that some individuals tend to be inspired to do something else than is not hard or comfy, as well as they, opposites may entice.

Additionally producing an instance for whenever opposites draw in in connections Dr. Stillwell confirmed that it’s essential for you to get challenged by different views, and also for other people’ talents to fit the weaknesses. This features the power which lies in range and the great things about interactions with others different to you, checking brand new methods for thinking, countries, a few ideas and encounters.

While studies show that opposites cannot constantly draw in each other in personal connections, this prevails on a range and it is maybe not a hard and fast rule. “we aren’t saying that an extrovert won’t marry an introvert. Without doubt we wouldn’t completely wanna date our very own clone”, clarifies Dr. Stillwell.

The formula of opposites attract

Working from causes behind the legislation of interest and examining do opposites truly attract or otherwise not, there is not one clear-cut summation. The misconception that opposites attract has distributed throughout love stories and turn into a familiar hook in well-known culture. The story of conquering chances interests the human being heart and keeps united states from the side of our very own seat.

Looking at exactly why it has become so popular Dr. Stillwell remarks that opposites bringing in creates an excellent tale; the pauper marrying a prince is a classic yarn. Enough TV shows have actually tales about opposites attracting since it is ready for crisis. It is even the pure unlikelihood of two different people, poles aside, loving one another adequate to conquer the dispute of difference that individuals select therefore attractive. This notion provides hope, wish that love can overcome all chances. But perhaps this is available much more in a realm of fairytales next actuality.

Across numerous scientific tests by top teachers and personal boffins, the investigation provides unequivocally established that opposites try not to attract hence individuals are somewhat interested in those people who are just like on their own. This explains the normal and typical attraction between like-minded singles and partners.

Dr. Bahns verifies that whenever men and women are left to complete what comes naturally for them or what exactly is simple, they generally choose to be with others who’re comparable to all of them. Familiarity creates security also confirms your own opinions, identity, and understanding by experiencing it in a dyad, watching yours reflection in your partner. Folks like to be with other people that happen to be like them since this helps generate a social environment that is secure, stable, and satisfying, explains Dr. Bahns.

You can still find instances and events though whenever opposites would attract together with subject is multifaceted. We learned that similar people attract, normally. But probably the story is far more nuanced. Possibly there is an ideal amount of similarity for a fruitful few so the few challenges each other without one getting too fraught. Possibly we like currently and have now flings with others different from united states, but marry, or create lasting dedication, to people that are just like united states, concludes the expert view of Dr. Stillwell.

It seems that the alluring excitement of the unfamiliar promotes the charm whenever opposites perform entice, but it’s the comforting confirmation of similarity that’s finally exactly what a confirmed bulk gravitate towards in lasting love and interactions.


[1] “Myth”. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Internet. 23 May 2017. Found at:

[2] Dr. David Stillwell. EliteSingles Interview. Will 2017.

[3] Youyou, W., Stillwell, D.J., Schwartz, A. & Kosinski, M. (2017) Birds of a feather perform head together: behavior-based character assessment approach discloses personality similarity among partners and buddies. Emotional Science. Available at:

[4] Bahns, A. J., Crandall, C. S., Gillath, O., & Preacher, K. J. (2016). Similarity in relationships as subject development: preference, security, and effect within dyads in a no cost option planet. Log of Personality and Social Mindset. Found at:

[5] Dr. Angela Bahns. EliteSingles Interview. Will 2017.

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