In recognition of the fact that Saturday is Pop Psych day here at TTGSiMH I thought I would share the article "How Do I Love Thee?" I was reading it earlier in my copy of "The Best of Technology Writing 2007" (which does have a lot of great articles and I highly recommend it).
As you may have noticed, personality psychology fascinates me. Yet somehow when those assessments and methodologies are used in reference to relationships it feels to me like it borders on the profane. It is one thing to be entertained by the categorization of personal identifiers both large and small - "oh, hey, as an INFP I love art" (true) "and poetry" (false). It is yet another to have those sorts of assessments be the basis for sorting through and weeding out something as important as potential lifelong commitments. I'm not saying that there is something sacred about the usual course of human relationship-building (meeting at work or at the bar is pretty typical), just that I don't think that we humans know half of what we think we do and I hate seeing something that is still in the nascent stages of development being used as though it is some sort of Absolute Truth. Since much of the assessment is self-assessment it gives me little hope for accuracy. Do you know anyone who isn't self-deluding in some way? Granted, some of the methodologies include "complementary" as well as "similarity" metrics. But since along with common self-delusion I've also seen a lot of hypocrisy (believing one thing, doing another) in this life it gives me even less hope about a self-assessing test which then matches on similar and/or complementary items.
That being said, I know that these dating websites can work. And I'm happy for anyone who finds happiness no matter how or where they find it (you know, as long it is legal, ethical, etc.) because I am a great believer in the importance of relationships. Just my INFP showing, as it also does with my dislike of rejecting people because they are different. Similarity? Complementary? Can't we all just get along? I am by nature accepting and including. Thus why I don't like using these methods of tossing out of the mix people who are different from your own profile. Unless, of course, you're irritating. Then I just want you to go away. (Hey, every rule has an exception and my inclusion rule has caveats.)
My favorite quote from the article is actually from Dr. Warren, founder of eHarmony. Someone who I physically recoil from when I see his ads, but I find his words here comforting, nonetheless:
“People have always thought, wrongly, that psychotherapy is a place to go deal with problems,” he said. “So when a couple would come in, I’d say, ‘Tell me how you fell in love. Tell me the funniest thing that’s happened in your marriage.’ If you want to make a relationship work, don’t talk about what you find missing in it! Talk about what you really like about it.”
That, at least, sounds like good advice.