People with similar personalities are the most compatible, research finds.
Extraverts get on with other extraverts, conscientious people are happy with other conscientious people, the agreeable love other agreeable people — and so on.
There was no evidence in this study that opposites attract.
Romantic partners also get on better — at least initially — when they have similar attitudes.
For a happy marriage, though, it is a similar personality that works best.
Similar attitudes, which are easier to gauge than personality, may help people with similar personalities find each other.
The study’s authors write:
“People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them – at least in part – on the basis of this similarity because attitudes are highly visible and salient characteristics and they are fundamental to the way people lead their lives.”
The conclusions come from a study of 291 newlyweds who were asked about their personality, attitudes and marital satisfaction.
The results showed that the couples who had similar personalities were happier together.
Attitudes — whether similar or not — made no different to marital satisfaction.
The authors write:
“…once people are in a committed relationship, it is primarily personality similarity that influences marital happiness because being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive coordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living.
Whereas personality similarity is likely to facilitate this process, personality differences may result in more friction and conflict in daily life.
As far as attitudes are concerned, people who chose to marry each other should be well aware of how similar or different they are on these domains because attitudes are very visible and salient.
This suggests that attitudinal and value differences, when they exist, are part of a conscious decision to stay together on the basis of other important considerations.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Luo & Klohnen, 2005).