Opposites attract, or so the popular quote says. However, a new study found that it's just a myth.

Researchers from the University of Kansas and Wellesley College have proven that in a new study, suggesting that people are more drawn to those whose minds are similar to theirs.

Ultimately, they found that relationships do not change people through time, suggesting that partners are indeed the same at the start of the getting-to-know stage.

Striving For Similarities

Study author Angela Bahns from Wellesley points out to two strangers meeting for the the first time. The very first similarities they have identified with each other set up the direction of the future relationship. It dictates the tone, the connection and probably the decision to either stay or walk away.

"Those early recognitions of similarity are really consequential in that decision," she says.

For author Chris Crandall from the University of Kansas, people try to build a world filled with people they trust and are comfortable with so they can meet their goals. A good foundation for this objective is to try and look for similarities in other people.

Although being able to influence one's partner is vital to a relationship, such is not very notable between friends. The authors were able to determine a large domain wherein friends exhibit minimal changes in their attitude, personality and values.  

The authors do not mean to say that social influence does not occur in relationships. The point is that there is very little influence when the pairs are already similar at the beginning of the relationship.

The researchers emphasized that people are not striving for shared familiarity in a topic or two. For the study, most people were found to have similarities by chance, and from there, the researchers speculated that these people most likely have the same personal beliefs as well.

Different People Can Have Meaningful Relationships Too

To investigate, the authors asked pairs, whether romantic or not, to answer questions about the values, attitudes, prejudices, behaviors or personality traits that are vital to them. They then studied how similar or dissimilar the pairs were. Some pairs have known each other longer than others.

The researchers found that those who have just met and those who have known each other longer did not have significant differences.

More people from big universities were able to find people similar to them in a huge crowd of students than in small schools. At small universities, pairs were less similar but exhibited the same closeness and satisfaction. This means that people can find meaning relationships despite having wide differences.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 

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