eharmony’s 32 dimensions of compatibility explained
What is it that sets eharmony apart from other dating sites? Why are our methods better than those that simply give you a list of potential partners in your area of roughly the same age? The answer, in a nutshell, is compatibility: we only suggest matches with whom you share fundamental values, emotional intelligence and world-view.
This begs the obvious questions of how do we do it and why should you trust us? The answers aren’t short – we take this stuff seriously – but boil down to the extraordinary levels of data and detail we use to find your perfect compatible match.
eharmony has over 20 years’ experience researching the science of lasting love. Our experts have carried out numerous studies of happy couples worldwide and worked with academic institutions including Oxford University and Imperial College London.
eharmony’s unique Compatibility Matching System measures each potential couple on 32 dimensions of compatibility.
By asking you a series of questions before we start to match you, we get to know you properly and discover the personality traits that make you unique. We then use the insights from your answers to find you truly compatible potential partners.
So now you know how we use our secret sauce, it’s time to reveal the ingredients. Here are our 32 Dimensions of Compatibility in full and a short guide to each one.
Your personality fundamentals
This is about how you generally interact with the world around you and those character traits that influence your actions and attitudes.
How do you see the world?
We experience and shape our lives in three different ways: instinctively, emotionally, and rationally. Each of these aspects develop during childhood and mature throughout our lives. How we express these qualities in daily life is important, because they determine how we experience reality and relate to other people.
(1) Instinct: Your “gut feeling” – that inner sense of knowing and the intuition that sends you important signals.
(2) Feelings: Your feelings are the main driver of how you experience the world and your place in it. Emotions –from anger to anxiety, sadness to surprise – affect nearly every aspect of your existence.
(3) Intellect:Logic, objectivity, and rational thought influence how you make decisions, as well as your views and behaviour. Your intellect lets you solve problems and sort through complex information.
Your balance of passion and self-control
Passion is expressed in countless ways. You might be passionate about art, work, nature, or politics, to name a few. This emotional energy is vital to how you deal with the things you care most about.
(4) Inner Energy:If your energy is highly pronounced, you might well prefer passionate relationships.
(5) Self-control:Your level of self-control develops during childhood as you learn what counts as ‘normal’ in family and society. Self-control helps us to pursue long-term goals and ignore distractions.
Gender roles in your relationship
It’s a good idea if partners have compatible ideas about responsibilities in their relationship and home life. Some couples remain traditional – the man concentrates on work, the woman on home – but this is increasingly rare and most have to strike a balance on who’s responsible for what. The point is both partners must broadly agree about what their roles are. It’s important to remember that what we call ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ characteristics can be dominant in either men or women.
(6) Masculine side:Someone with a strong masculine side might display courage, initiative, or a dominant streak. Everyone has characteristics that are conventionally ascribed to people of the opposite sex.
(7) Feminine side: An example of a person with a strong feminine side might be someone who is deeply in touch with his or her feelings and moods.
What degree of closeness is right for you?
(8) Desire for closeness in a relationship: This measures to what extent someone needs physical and mental ‘closeness’ to their partner and how much they prefer to do everything together. For example, when you are watching a TV series you like, does it add to your enjoyment when your partner is watching it with you?
How empathetic are you?
(9) Empathy: Empathetic people naturally understanding the feelings, thoughts and motivations of others, and – even without much being said – pick up on what’s going on in someone’s head.
How do you see the world?
(10) Positive attitude:Someone with a pronounced positive attitude sees everything from the most optimistic possible angle. The glass is always half-full, while the pessimist sees it half-empty.
How do you process experiences?
On a whole, people deal with life experiences in two very contrasting ways. One is directed outwards, known as extroversion. The other, known as introversion, is directed inwards. Neither of them completely dominate the way we think and feel – but they do strongly influence how we life and relate to others.
(11) Introversion: This is a basic personality trait in which experience and behaviour are mostly turned inwards. An introverted person usually prefers an evening alone or with a few good friends instead of a noisy night out.
(12) Extroversion: This, obviously, is the opposite: an extrovert usually likes to go out and to surround themselves with lots of people.
How do you approach people?
(13) Desire for interaction: A person with a strong desire to make contact enjoys getting to know other people. For example, they wouldn’t worry about making conversation with a total stranger in public.
(14) Reluctance to interact: Some people are shy and reluctant to pursue new relationships. Such a person might avoid approaching others because they fear appearing pushy or not being accepted.
Compromise and boundaries in your relationship
(15) Willingness to adapt: How ready you are to adapt to the needs of other people? Someone at one end of the scale might not mind whether the bedroom window is open or closed at night and lets their partner decide.
How pragmatic are you?
(16) Pragmatism: Pragmatic people take a practical, problem-solving approach to life. Rationality and objectivity are key factors in decision-making.
How you deal with frustration
We get frustrated when our expectations aren’t met, but people react in very different ways. Psychologists say there are four patterns of behaviour that often overlap, and which influence our relationships.
(17) Generosity: In this context, generosity means a kind, forgiving reaction to things that cause frustration. For example, a colleague accidentally breaks your coffee cup and you say: “Never mind, it was cracked already.”
(18) Tendency to compensate: How willing you are to find solutions to problems? For instance, you have planned a picnic but it’s raining; do you switch straight away to a backup plan?
(19) Tendency to withdraw: The more someone tends to withdraw, the more likely they will draw back from an argument.
(20) Assertiveness:An assertive person usually tries to remove or change the cause of frustration. For example, if your restaurant order is sub-standard, you send it back and demand a replacement.
Your everyday life
(21) Conventionality:A conventional person recognises generally accepted social behaviour and norms and expects others to do the same.
(22) Unconventionality:Some people strive for authenticity and individualism. You might imagine someone who’s fashion sense or taste in home decoration is off the wall.
(23) Desire for structure:Wanting an ordered life means you need to plan everything in advance and like everything in its proper place. Think of someone who insists on eating at the same time every day.
(24) Desire for domesticity:A tendency to focus on hobbies or interests that keep you in your own house.
Being active or enjoying doing nothing?
People differ a lot in how much activity and peace and quiet they need. Relationships usually work best when both partners have similar characteristics.
(25) Need to be adventurous:You want your everyday life to be lively and full of variety. Perhaps someone who enjoys playing sport several times a week.
(26) Need to be peaceful:You like peace and quiet, and spend a lot of your free time relaxing.
Our parents’ influence and what sort of upbringing we had has a huge effect on how we communicate with others. Childhood experience plays a big part in how we behave as adults.
(27) Caring parent influence: The caring parent ego is that part of our personality which wants to do things for others. Someone who goes out of their way to help other people.
(28) Critical parent influence:Critical comments can have a big influence on our childhood. The phrases our parents used to scold or encourage us often pass smoothly into our adult lives. The extent of the so-called critical parent ego indicates how strong this influence from your past still is.
How you behaved as a child influences you now
The person you were as a child lives on in you and shapes your present-day feelings, impulses, desires, and reactions. Strategies that impressed you as a child stay with us and, because our upbringings vary a lot, effect our behaviour as adults in very different ways.
(29) Natural childhood influence: Children express themselves artlessly and spontaneously. When you burst into tears, laugh aloud joyfully, finish work early purely on a whim, you are expressing the child within you.
(30) Adapted childhood influence:Most children try to do earn their parents’ praise and recognition through their actions. As adults, we can sometimes repeat this behaviour, for example, when we do something just to avoid an argument.
(31) Manipulative childhood influence: Children often learn to manipulate their parents by targeting their weaknesses – a parent with a fondness for chocolate might be more inclined to give it to their child. Adults too use this style of communication; everyone knows someone who can charm their way into getting what they want.
(32) Current communication style: Our adult voice is the referee, judging between the parental and childish voices inside us. While we never quite escape our childish needs or parental commands, maturity teaches us to communicate like a grown-up.
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