"Birds of a feather flock together."
People love to give advice - especially when it comes to romance and relationships. With opinions flying at us from all directions and cliches galore, it can be hard to know exactly which way to go about things. Our TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT Series takes common dating advice we’re hearing on the street and analyzes it for truthfulness and thoroughness. Take this as your SDA-refined view on the world!
Let’s just get right to it and say that shared interests are nice but overrated. While we’re at it, let’s also knock shared personalities off its pedestal. Don’t worry, there is truth behind the beloved “birds of a feather fly together” saying - rest assured that shared values are indeed very, very important.
Now that our bold opening statements are out of the way, it’s time to talk about why we made them. Here’s why having differing interests and personalities from the person you’re dating may actually be great for your life!
Having different interests gives you natural, healthy space in your relationship.
When you’re dating someone you click with, it can be hard not to want to spend every waking moment together, but doing so can cause both parties to lose sense of self and resent one another over time. Stay active in your hobbies even when a relationship is picking up speed, and encourage your partner to do the same - yes, you will have activity-based friendships that don’t overlap with your partners’ social circle, and that’s a great thing! Spending regular time apart, both doing the things you love with the friends you had long before you were in each other’s lives, helps to naturally maintain a relationship with healthy personal boundaries.
Different interests are potential for the most memorable dates.
Craving a little more excitement than dinner-and-a-movie? Yeah, us too. When planning adventurous dates, having different interests to work with is gold. Take turns introducing each other to things you would never have done on your own respectively, and enjoy the thrills and laughs and ridiculous photos that ensue. Trust us, that makes for a way stronger bonding experience than the two of you sitting in silence through another mediocre holiday rom-com. (And let’s be honest - the opportunity to get a photo of Alex looking terrified while paddleboarding is too awesome to pass up.)
Personalities can be different but complementary.
If you’ve got a fiery temper or are quick to feel stressed out, you may benefit from the soothing presence of a calmer, more grounded partner. If you err on the reserved side socially, you may find your inhibitions lifted when frolicking with a companion who’s the life of the party. Sure, differing personality types can cause disagreement at times, but if you choose to focus on the ways in which you help balance one another out, you’ll realize there’s a lot of personality traits you can learn from and be grateful for!
Aligning on core values will hold you together.
So here’s the part that’s true - if you share the same core values as the person you’re dating, a lot of your less significant differences will fade away into the background. Examples of core values are your views on family, the importance you place on living a healthy lifestyle, parenting strategies, etc. - the list goes on, but you get the point. Interests and personality, though strongly visible to all, are surface-level aspects of a person. Values are what you see when you strip away the music, the glitter, the gimmicks - they are the pillars that construct who a person really is.
So your partner wants to go sailing while you’d rather go to a book signing event? Or you prefer to sip a drink in a cozy corner while your significant other lights up the dance floor? Those are differences to be understood, embraced, joked about, encouraged! At the end of the day, as long as you align on your values, the two of you are “birds of a feather” in the ways that matter.