Do the opposites attract or do bird of the feather flock together?

While I was scanning through the headlines in one famous Internet magazine, one of them caught my eye. The article title was: ‘Do you want reliable business or a life partner? Look for the opposite of what you are!’

‘This could be interesting’ I thought at first. The text was about how we need differences in order to complete each other and, through that, expand the list of the things we’re good at.

Do we need the differences?

I must admit that makes sense. If we have a soccer team consisted only of forward players, the defense would be quite bad and would probably allow the opponent to score many goals. If we add up some defensive players, the team would be more complete and, therefore, better.

What is highly questionable about this story is the level from which we are considering these differences and similarities. Let me be more precise. If we look at it from a perspective of a position in a team, forward players are definitely different that defensive players in that sense, so we can agree that these differences add up to the team’s value. However, if we look at it from a level of a sport, both forward and defense players are footballers, so they’re not different in that way.

If we would stick to our attitude that opposites attract and contribute all together to the quality of their team, that would eventually lead us to adding, let’s say, a water polo player to our football team. He’s quite different than the rest, isn’t he?

If we go one step further and watch this whole thing from a level of a job, both footballers and water polo players play sport to make a living. So, they’re similar in that way. Perhaps we should consider adding a programmer to our football team?

As you can see for yourself, differences are good and useful to a certain level. You must be thinking right now: ‘Ok, but how do I decide that crucial moment, in which the differences stop being preferable and start being harmful?’

Where do the differences stop being an advantage and become harmful?

That is the right question. The answer depends on the context in which we are looking for it, let’s say whether it’s a business partner or a life partner. The question we’ve got to ask ourselves, before we start seeking the right partner, is: ‘What is necessary to me, as a person, to see in a partner in order to be absolutely sure he/she is the one?’

When you answer this question to yourself, you’ll come down to your values and beliefs. There’s no compromise with these things. Up to that level, we absolutely need to look for similarities. It is necessary for you to find a partner who shares the same values as you.

“When you match on the level of values and beliefs, everything else is less important and that’s where the differences become preferable.

The differences in the rest of the things will ensure your relationship is dynamic and that it functions well, in order for you to cover for as many different challenges and situations in life as possible. Sometimes, it would be necessary for you to work on your tolerance and the acceptance of your partner.

I will now give you a concrete example. I want to find a partner who’s honest, devoted, who respects me and gives me my privacy, who wants kids and who puts family before work on the priority list. I cannot imagine a relationship without these things. If I would go with the idea that opposites always attract and if I would find a partner who’s dishonest, how could I be happy with such partner? Or, let’s say, I found a partner who’s honest, dedicated and who respects me, but doesn’t want to start a family and have kids, a person who puts career first. What kind of a relationship could I have with that person?

So’ it’s necessary for us to reach agreement about the basics, about the things without which we cannot imagine a relationship. To put it simply- agreement about values and beliefs.


The problems occur because people are not aware of the values that guide them through their lives and the beliefs they have. Because of that, they have no firm guidelines regarding what it is that they need to recognize in a partner, whether it is a business or a life partner. As the time goes by, they only feel something bothering them and that feeling of discomfort keeps intensifying, right until it reaches a crucial point and frustrations explode.

Sjajan metod kojim možete da upoznate najpre sebe, na nivou na kom niste mogli ni da zamislite, je NLP. NLP daje konkretno znanje i tehnike kako da odredimo svoje najdublje vrednosti i uverenja, kako da prepoznamo ona koja nisu korisna i kako da ih promenimo, kao i kako da ih prepoznamo kod potencijalnog partnera.


A great method through which you can get to know yourself first, on levels you could not possibly imagine, is NLP. NLP gives you a concrete knowledge and techniques regarding how to determine and discover our deepest, core values and beliefs, how to tell the ones that are not useful and change them, how and when to recognize these values and beliefs in our potential partners. Opposites do attract, but only from a certain level on. Similarities are what gives us a solid foundation and what will keep us together in a long term perspective. Get to know your values, learn how to recognize them in your partner and use the time in the best way possible.

Dušan Srdić,
Doctor of Dentistry and a Happiness Coach