Skip links

Carry out opposites attract? The truth additionally the fiction behind the myth

The approved concept that opposites attract features pervaded well-known society and societal reasoning concise that it’s now a frequently held opinion. However, now a growing base of research has discovered and deconstructed this legend. We explore positive results and weigh in together with the experts to find out if opposites do really entice, or repel, in relationships.

From Billy Joel crooning about an uptown girl desiring a the downtown area man, quite Woman, the star-crossed enthusiasts Romeo and Juliet, Beauty and Beast, the Cinderella fairytale, and many more, we’ve been informed this tale of face-to-face destination across numerous methods as different as Shakespearean literary works to Disney flicks.

The irresistibly intimate account of extremely unlikely really love beating chances became a beloved storyline and has now converted into an extensively organised notion which explains this social and natural event. But that’s additionally exactly how we describe a myth1. The issue with a myth is that the fact is frequently unsubstantiated, dependent fairly on populous view, simple to believe but missing the data to validate it.

Magnetized charm: would opposites actually entice in relationships?

to reach the base of the puzzle of do opposites really attract, we brought in some heavy-hitting specialists. Talking to EliteSingles, Dr. David Stillwell, Deputy Director of Psychometrics in the Cambridge Judge company School at the University of Cambridge and Dr. Angela Bahns, Professor of mindset at Wellesley college or university, unpack their particular insight from top scientific tests in therapy and attraction today of online seniors dating and connections.

Dr. Stillwell, co-author of the study wild birds of a feather would group together: behavior-based personality assessment method reveals personality similarity among lovers and pals, investigated individuality similarities, using behavior and vocabulary in intimate partners and buddies on social networking. The guy explains that around this point there seemed to be evidence for similarity in partners across age, training and socio-economic amount, cleverness and values; but similarity hadn’t yet already been established in character traits2.

Utilizing the Big Five Model of Personality, the study monitored the electronic tasks of 295 320 individuals on fb determine their own parallels and differences3. When responding to the question perform opposites truly draw in, looking at personality is actually a simple emotional construct in attraction and relationships.

The top Five Model of individuality is the leading individuality product in educational analysis, measuring faculties across five measurements: openness to possess, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The initial sum of this study would be that previous analysis relied on fellow and self-reported questionnaires to measure and evaluate character attributes, whereas, contained in this learn, the people’ conduct was actually assessed, getting rid of the ‘reference party result’ of evaluating yourself some other individuals inside atmosphere. By circumventing this limitation, these were capable show a and more accurate outcome.

What the learn conclusively discovered is that opposites cannot really draw in, rather there ended up being a significant similarity in character between buddies and passionate partners3, dispelling the myth that opposites attract with logical investigation used directly from this on line social ecosystem. Dr. Stillwell told EliteSingles, “our very own distinctive contribution were to show that when you measure individuality predicated on conduct (what individuals mention using the internet, or whatever they ‘like’ on Facebook), that individuality is comparable after all”2, concluding that wild birds of a feather do without a doubt go with each other.

Taking a look at issue of opposing destination in interactions from a special direction we additionally talked to Dr. Bahns throughout the matter-of do opposites really bring in or not. She actually is a researcher and co-author within the learn Similarity in interactions as a distinct segment development: solution, security, and influence within dyads in a totally free choice planet, which investigated similarity in communicating sets across various factors, from beliefs to leisurely activity. The research showed that the pairs within the study largely provided comparable opinions and confirmed that like-minded folks are interested in each other4. She clarifies “similarity-seeking in interactions is actually goal-driven, and many individuals, picking based on similarity satisfies their targets of convenience, expertise, and predictability”5.

Summing up the expert viewpoint and study results, the legend of opposite attraction has-been discredited. In actuality, behavior communications and personality attributes in destination aren’t pushed, such as the positive and negative costs of a magnet by bringing in the exact opposite, but rather in relationships distinctions can repel, making true the saying like attracts like.

An instance for opposites attract: plus and minus can equal love

Although most committed folks are attracted to others who act like by themselves, there’s however an incident to be created for when opposites attract in love and connections. Emotions, behavior, and interactions are much too intricate to utilize one law of destination to all or any so there tend to be conditions to each and every rule. Then when would opposites attract?

Dr. Bahns claims that although similarity-seeking is extremely usual, people perform find relationships with folks who are dissimilar to all of them. People are motivated by unique drives, different characters find diverse characteristics appealing, and varied union conditions fascinating. It really is section of why is right up a multicolored continuum associated with human being experience, as opposed to existing merely in a monochrome predictability of grayscale principles of engagement.

Describing that beliefs and motivation are two key factors whenever opposites can attract, Dr. Bahns mentioned: “my research shows that individuals who appreciate range and accept the pros assortment offers are more inclined to choose pals and lovers that are different from them”. She continues on to explain that many people are determined accomplish different things than what isn’t hard or comfortable, and for these folks, opposites may attract.

Additionally producing a case for when opposites attract in connections Dr. Stillwell confirmed that it’s necessary for us are pushed by additional viewpoints, as well as other people’ skills to complement our very own weak points. This features the strength which consist diversity and also the benefits of connections with individuals different to you, opening brand-new means of thinking, cultures, ideas and encounters.

Even though studies show that opposites don’t habitually bring in both in personal connections, this prevails on a range and is also not a hard and quick rule. “we aren’t proclaiming that an extrovert won’t ever wed an introvert. Certainly we wouldn’t all would you like to date all of our clone”, clarifies Dr. Stillwell.

The formula of opposites attract

Working from causes behind the legislation of destination and exploring do opposites truly draw in or not, there isn’t one clear-cut bottom line. The myth that opposites attract has distributed throughout really love tales and start to become a familiar hook in common society. The narrative of beating the chances appeals to the human being nature and helps to keep united states from the edge of our very own seat.

Checking out the reason why it’s become popular Dr. Stillwell remarks that opposites bringing in produces a tale; the pauper marrying a prince is actually a classic yarn. Plenty of shows have tales about opposites bringing in since it is mature for drama. It is perhaps the pure unlikelihood of two totally different people, posts apart, enjoying both sufficient to get over the conflict of distinction that we discover thus appealing. This idea provides wish, wish that really love can conquer all probabilities. But probably this prevails much more in a realm of fairytales subsequently real life.

Across many scientific tests by leading academics and personal experts, the research has unequivocally founded that opposites cannot bring in hence men and women are instead attracted to those who are just like themselves. This explains the natural and typical attraction between like-minded singles and partners.

Dr. Bahns verifies that after folks are kept to accomplish exactly what comes obviously to them or what is effortless, they usually prefer to get with folks that comparable to them. Familiarity produces safety and in addition confirms your own opinions, identification, and comprehension by having it in a dyad, witnessing your very own expression within companion. Folks like to be with other people that happen to be like them as this helps make a social atmosphere this is certainly secure, secure, and gratifying, explains Dr. Bahns.

You can still find examples and events though when opposites perform bring in in addition to subject matter is multifaceted. We discovered that similar people attract, on average. However, perhaps the tale is more nuanced. Maybe there clearly was an ideal amount of similarity for an effective few so that the couple challenges each other without it becoming too fraught. Possibly we love up to now and also flings with folks different from you, but marry, or generate long-term dedication, to people who happen to be comparable to united states, concludes the expert view of Dr. Stillwell.

It would appear that the alluring exhilaration of this as yet not known promotes the charm when opposites do entice, but it’s the soothing verification of similarity definitely finally exactly what a confirmed majority gravitate towards in lasting really love and interactions.


[1] “Myth”. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Online. 23 Might 2017. Bought at:

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

[3] Youyou, W., Stillwell, D.J., Schwartz, A. & Kosinski, M. (2017) Birds of a feather carry out group together: behavior-based personality examination method shows personality similarity among partners and friends. Mental Science. Bought at:

[4] Bahns, A. J., Crandall, C. S., Gillath, O., & Preacher, K. J. (2016). Similarity in connections as subject construction: possibility, stability, and effect within dyads in a no cost option planet. Log of Individuality and Social Mindset. Available at:

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