Do opposites really attract?
It is often said that opposites attract, especially when it comes to love relationships.
It is often said that opposites attract.
It is a maxim that many people pronounce. When we refer to friendship relationships we bet on those we consider equal to us, but when we speak of love relationshipsWhen it comes to love relationships, there is a growing disparity of opinions. Moreover, most people believe that we prefer to maintain sentimental relationships with very different people. This leads us to ask two questions: do animals make the same distinction, i.e., do they discriminate whether they are looking for a potential companionship or a mating partner?
Are polar opposites attracted to each other?
The answers illustrate how humans operate on a quasi-instinctive level when it comes to these judgments.
At the outset, we should note that animals really do form friendships with each other. Like humans, some of these friendships can be volatile or stable over many years. Although it is well known that enjoyment of friendships brings certain benefits, it takes time and effort to maintain these bonds.It takes time and effort to maintain these bonds.
Humans may have to deal with a long list of uncomfortable situations which we only do because of this feeling of friendship: taking a call from your friend at two o'clock in the morning to console him for his breakup. Chimpanzees, for example, can spend long periods of time delousing the heads of their friends.
Regardless of whether we are talking about humans or apes, how do we decide who we want to be friends with? What might be the key: age, gender, social status, personality...? personality...?
A recent study investigating factors predicting chimpanzee friendships found that individuals with similar personalities were more likely to be friends with chimpanzees. individuals with similar personalities were more likely to be friends with chimpanzees.. Massen, J. (2013) reported that extroverted chimpanzees related to extroverts, while more shy individuals did the same with other shy individuals. The more playful and cuddly black papion primates interacted with each other. On the other hand, the more reserved and distant ones interacted more with each other, although obviously in a way according to their personality.
Regardless of whether we are talking about humans, chimpanzees or baboons, it is clear that friendships are decided on the basis of similarity.
So what about love relationships, are we attracted to the opposite?
The answer is no.
The barnacle goose (a type of anseriform bird) prefers to mate with individuals of similar size. Similarly, the coal tit (a parseriform bird) does so with individuals with a similar personality. This tendency occurs not only in birds, but in humans as well. Despite the popular belief that opposites attract, data show that married couples tend to resemble each other in a wide variety of traits.
Until a few years ago, researchers were unsure whether the shared traits came about over time as a couple, or whether they were similar traits from before that time.or whether they were similar traits from before the couple met. A recently published study by Tognetti, Berticat, Raymond, and Faurie (2014) has opened new windows on this question. They found that people in a rural region of Senegal chose to marry someone who was as cooperative and friendly with others as the individual himself.
Perhaps for this reason in the animal world it is more interesting to mate with other individuals similar in size, personality or other factors. Opposites may attract, but the tendency is for us to prefer that which is similar to ourselves.
Plato wrote: "Similarities beget friendship." Did he forget to mention whether this maxim also applies to love or sexual relationships? Possibly not. This probably explains why friendship is often the best scenario when it comes to establishing romantic relationships.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)