(This post is not affiliated or sponsored by any of the websites mentioned or linked below.)
Human personalities are so complex.
Scientifically speaking, a person’s personality is defined as “the characteristic set of behaviors, cognition, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors.” (Source: Wikipedia) In other words, most professionals who study personality types and traits believe that some factors of a person’s personality they are born with, while other factors develop over time based on life experiences. We are all shaped by the families we come from, as well as the specific events that have happened in our lives.
It’s my personal belief that a personality is as unique as a fingerprint. Although there may be generic categories and personality types to which people can generally find relate-able, no one person is going to have the exact personality of any other person.
Popular Ways to Determine Personality Types:
The first step to determining which personalities would be compatible for you is doing some personal development to discover your own personality. There are countless online tests, charts, articles, books, studies, and strategies for figuring out what type of personality category a person fits into, and while I don’t believe any test to be 100% accurate, I do feel that some personality tests can very accurately point to the general personality of a person.
For example, The 5 Love Languages is a helpful tool for determining what actions taken by your partner will make you feel most loved. I mentioned in a previous post that one reason my husband and I decided to start travelling as a couple instead of buying each other gifts was because we both scored lowest in the “getting gifts” love language category. We also both scored highest in the quality time and physical touch categories. (If you missed that post, you can check it out by clicking here.) Knowing what makes your partner feel most loved is very helpful in a relationship.
My favorite personality test is the enneagram test. I’ve found the results of my enneagram test to be eerily accurate in describing my personality, both strengths and weaknesses. If you haven’t heard about enneagrams, you can read all about the history here. According to the Enneagram Institute website, there are nine different enneagram types. To give you an idea of my enneagram compared to my husband’s, I’m a type four, also referred to as “The Creative/Individualist” whereas my husband is a type two, aka “The Lover/Helper.” If you’re curious to see which enneagram category you or your partner fits into, click here to take a free enneagram test.
Another popular way to determine personality traits of a person is by their astrological signs or birth charts. I’m a Capricorn, and although I haven’t personally studied much astrology, I have looked up my birth chart and found much of the information to be very accurate and also very similar to my enneagram type description. A few years ago, in a work training, a brand new coworker asked me during a break, “Are you a Capricorn?” Apparently, I’m quite typical of a Capricorn, although I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing! Hmm…
After you understand your own personality, the only way to know whether or not a person is going to be compatible with you is to know what kind of core qualities you’re looking for in a partner.
Core qualities are the factors of a personality that really drive a person to have the type of thinking and behavior that they most often express. For example, someone with a core quality of patience is going to be slow to express their frustration, whereas someone who a core quality of assertiveness may speak more boldly about their feelings.
In contrast, I believe people to also have parts of their personality that I refer to as surface qualities. I mentioned this in my previous post about dating online. Sometimes you can meet a person who may not seem right for you on the surface. But surface qualities do not typically make or break a relationship in the long run. Personal interests, political and religious views, whether or not they’ve been married or have children, what they do for a living, hobbies, etc, are just a few examples of surface qualities.
What happens frequently when we are looking for a partner is that we place too much focus on the surface qualities of a person.
Take this scenario: You meet someone new on a dating website. You’ve been chatting for a few days, and you’re interested enough that you decide to meet for coffee. Feeling excited about the date (one of the reliable ways I mentioned previously that you know you’re ready for dating again!), you tell your best friend about him.
“What’s he like?” she asks.
You say, “Well, he’s a teacher and a soccer coach, he has two kids that he co-parents with his ex-wife, and he and I have a lot in common! We both love Mexican food, staying active, stand-up comedy, and coffee! He seems really nice!”
These surface qualities are the easiest to share with a stranger during small talk, so this is where our focus tends to be when we first start dating someone. That’s totally normal!
But while it’s great to have things in common with someone, you need to get to know the person at the core in order to determine if you’re compatible.
Over the first few dates, you will likely start to pick up on the core qualities of a person. It will be easier to determine whether or not that person is going to be compatible for you, if you already know the qualities you’re looking for before you start dating.
Especially those of us who have come from a divorce, or if you’re going through one now, you know what didn’t work before. Use that to get a better start to dating again after divorce. For example, if you and your ex were both strongly opinionated and stubborn, someone with a core quality of having effective communication skills and patience is going to be someone that will provide a better balance to the relationship. If your new date is someone who tends to cut you off mid-sentence or doesn’t seem to have the patience for highly-opinionated people, you likely will not be a compatible partner for that person.
To recap these are the steps you must take to find a compatible partner:
- Discover your own personality–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. You can always work on your own personal development to become the best version of yourself! (I’ll post more on this in the future, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.)
- Determine which core qualities are most compatible with your own personality. This doesn’t always mean you will have the same core qualities as your partner–you’ll want qualities that provide balance to each other. Think about what worked vs. what hasn’t worked as far as qualities of your partners in the past.
- Get to know potential partners with a focus on learning their core qualities. Knowing the kind of movies they like to watch is not nearly as important as learning how they handle disappointment.
I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments if you want more on compatibility in relationships, and tell me, what core qualities compliment YOUR personality best?