"Opposites attract" is a phrase that has been popular for ages. It's everywhere in our culture--there have been songs, movies, even books revolving around this theory. You would think that in order to get along with or date someone, one should share similarities with that person. The more similar, the better, you might think. However, research shows that it might be a mix of the two.
According to a Columbia University study, couples "who seem to agree with each other all the time may find they are actually too close for comfort" (Watson). The university's public health department conducted research for three years on 732 men and women. Participants were asked about "their relationships, level of intimacy, overall satisfaction, closeness to their partner, how often they thought of breaking up, commitment and depression" (Watson). Another psychological test, used to assess how much the couples had in common, was combined with the first survey in order to compare closeness to relationship strength or happiness.
The results? Couples who were neither close nor too distant but "somewhere in between" had the strongest relationships (Watson). Lead author of the study David Frost emphasized the need for this balance. "People who yearn for a more intimate relationship and people who crave more distance are equally at risk of having a problematic relationship," he explained (Watson). This concept can also be applied to non-romantic relationships.
What we can take away from this study is that a healthy relationship consists of a balance in closeness and distance. The way I see it is this: when we're looking for someone to date, we're looking for someone who complements us, kind of like how salt complements pepper and peanut butter complements jelly. Too much similarity makes the situation pretty dull and too much dissimilarity makes it extremely nasty (and frustrating).