Thursday, September 1, 2011

Calling all singles!

It was just brought to my attention by my wonderful friend Carmen Makhoul-Ibrahim that I need to do more for singles and I should incorporate posts that are specifically geared towards singles. ...And I honestly have no idea how to do that because I didn't really previously consider it. But it's a great idea nonetheless (especially because I'M single!).

There are a lot of singles resources out there that I'd love to connect people to (e.g., the Relationship Coaching Institute, the Relationship Research Institute, websites like AskMen for men, and even astrological sites (e.g., this, this, and that, but I love this one), but my biggest problem with most singles guides, singles advice, etc., is that it's directed more towards how to have a sex with or pick up a girl or guy as opposed to have to get into a relationship with someone
(especially with guy's advice). There are all these games, and systems, and whatnot, but I don't think any of it really matters. Because if you're looking for how to pick up chicks or guys, you're really in the wrong place. That's not really my goal, and helping someone get laid is DEFINITELY not what this blog is about.

Sorry to disappoint you Quagmire

What I would rather focus on is two-fold: making yourself a better catch in general through introspection, understanding yourself, understanding the social and psychological influences on whom you are attracted to, overcoming the insecurities that hinder relationship formation (such as a parent's divorce, the death of a loved one, or a hurtful break-up (e.g., cheated on, etc.)), and a better overall understanding the opposite sex. 

And secondly, through emphasizing the importance of compatibility.

I will be introducing some little things that deal with the first point over the next few weeks, but as far as the second goes, let's just have a brief introduction into compatibility 101. First of all, what is it?

Compatibility (noun):
1: Capable of existing together in harmony (compatible theories, compatible people)... Example: Two people with compatible personalities. Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin: compatibilis, literally: sympathetic, from Late Latin: compati. First Known Use: 15th century. Synonyms: Agreeable, amicable, harmonious, congenial, frictionless, kindred, unanimous, united. Antonyms: Disagreeable, discordant, disharmonious, disunited, incompatible, inharmonious, uncongenial" (Thanks Webster).

Wikipedia has a pretty basic overview of interpersonal compatibility, but it is a really important concept that is often overlooked entirely, or in the case of the Arab world/Lebanon, is reduced down to the same religion, sect, social class, geographic location, or similar family backgrounds. But regardless of where you're from, compatibility is important, both for couples and singles. 

And what is important is to ask yourself questions like: What do they value? How important is religion to their life? Do we like the same things? Have similar tastes in interests? Do we have similar life trajectories (that is, are they moving away in a month while you stay in university for another 2 years)? Do we have similar goals and ambitions? Different goals, but similar life ambitions?  Different life ambitions, but similar goals? Are you close in age? In location? Do you share similar Love Languages, and what are theirs anyway? Do they stimulate you intellectually (and sexually)? Can you communicate well? Can you talk about deep and meaningful things? Do they support your passions? Do you support theirs? Do they get your humor? Do you understand theirs? Do you want kids someday, but they never do?  How do they spend their money? How do they manage conflict? How dependent or independent are they? Etc...

These are a wide range of questions, but I just wanted to illustrate things many people don't ask themselves or the people they are potentially going to be in a relationship with. Or if people know what they value, they don't necessarily know how "put their finger on it" as to what they are trying to tell themselves (i.e., that this is important to finding someone who I am compatible with). 

Probably not gonna work...

Compatibility is not just some relationship mumbo-jumbo concept. Multiple scientific studies and research has highlighted the benefits on romantic compatibility such as Huston and Houts (1998) (pp. 114-151), Lutz-Zois, Bradley, Mihalik, and Moorman-Eavers (2006), and Dijkstra and Barelds (2008), for instance. Moreover, Winch’s (1955, 1958, 1967) theory of complementary needs asserts that individuals who are in love share certain social characteristics (e.g., class, family status, education, income, religion, etc.), which is also supported by Sprecher (1998) who found that similarity of attitudes or values is one of the most important determinants of attraction.

I'll be talking more about compatibility later, and by no means am I trying to make you paranoid about it, but DO be more aware that there is more to meeting someone and maintaining a relationship than attraction (Duh, I know...).


What I want from all you singles now is tell me specifically what you want. What do you want to see? What kind of articles, links, research, etc. is relevant to you? Tell me so I cater to your needs and what you want!

Spread the love,


Dijkstra, Pieternel, and Dick P. H. Berelds. 2008. "Do People Know What They Want: A Similar or Complementary Partner?" Evolutionary Psychology, 6(4): 595-602.

Huston, Ted L., and Renate M. Houts. 1998. "The Psychological Infrastructure of Courtship and Marriage: The Role of Personality and Compatibility in Romantic Relationships." Pp. 114-151 in The Developmental Course of Marital Dysfunction, edited by Thomas N. Bradbury. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Lutz-Zois, Catherine J., Angela C. Bradley, Jennifer L. Mihalik, and Erika R. Moorman-Eavers. 2006. "Perceived Similarity and Relationship Success Among Dating Couples: An Idiographic Approach. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(6): 865-880.

Sprecher, Susan. 1998. "Insiders' Perspectives on Reasons for Attraction to a Close Other." Social Psychological Quarterly, 61(4): 287-300.

Winch, Robert F. 1967. "Another Look at the Theory of Complementary Needs in Mate-Selection." Journal of Marriage and Family, 29(4): 756-762.

----. 1958. Mate-Selection: A Study of Complementary Needs. Oxford, UK: Harper.

----. 1955. "The Theory of Complementary Needs in Mate-Selection: Final Results on the Test of the General Hypothesis." American Sociological Review, 20(5): 552-555.


  1. I agree with you, compatibility is important, but if you look around you'll see that good friends are as compatible as lovers, and I personally think this manifests itself in Lebanon more than other countries because it's a "group" society (for lack of a better word) and I have not seen that many people who are confortable befriending different or incompatible others. What I am trying to say is that although compatibility is important in starting a relationship, it's not what keeps it together, from personal experience, it takes being enchanted/disillusioned and falling in love/lust to be able to stand a long term partner's fault. There's something more that I have not yet been able to decipher, and that little something is not always logical or in our control and so we fall... If that 'thing' does not exist I'm sure I would not have read some of the greatest novels ever written. It's fickle and contradictory I know, and perhaps what you wrote is the right way to prevent a disatrous heart break but that's not how humans fall in love and fight and work and communicate and sometimes tear their hair off in/on keeping their relationship lasting, at least not I.

  2. Anonymous:

    First of all, thank you for reading the blog. I really appreciate it! And thank you for taking the time to comment! :)

    Now, on to your comment. I agree with you that good friends are as compatible as lovers. But your lover should also be a good friend, no? That's one of my points: that two people should enjoy being together, just like two friends do, but just in a more than platonic way.

    Just to comment on your mention of group society, Lebanon would be considered what's called a collectivist society, as would much of the world (as opposed to the US, Canada, Western/Northern Europe, and Australia and New Zealand for the most part which are more individualistic). And so people do tend to stick to their family, kinship, and communal networks in collectivist cultures.

    I happen to neither agree nor disagree with your point-of-view. I think that the physical/sexual attraction plus falling in love you are discussing is a very important part of a relationship! I just also happen to think that it's merely one component of a successful relationship, with compatibility in this case being another component (and things like trust and communication being other components).

    This is something that bothers me about most dating guides, is that they try to put forth some kind of magic formula to which you can apply and get the person you like. But attraction and relationships are not that simplistic and formulaic. There are a host of factors that influence whether or not two people will be attracted to each other and want to be together.

    Also, about the partner's faults comment. Being compatible is a very good way to deal with faults because if you're compatible with your communication styles, conflict resolution, etc., then you can more effectively and easily tackle any issues that arise.

    I completely understand your point, and I'm not trying to say that if two people are compatible, that should be the end of it: get together, get married, have kids, and not worry about your happiness. Quite on the contrary though, love is a very important part of being together as well!

    But at the same time, I'm arguing that people should be more mindful and conscious of the people they get into a relationship with, regardless of their feelings. What's better than two people being absolutely, madly in love with each other? Being absolutely, madly in love with each other AND being compatible: enjoying each other's friendship, company, conversation, and ability to help each other become a better person (etc...).

    And I definitely don't mean to imply that in a place like Lebanon, the only way for two people to be compatible is to stay within the religious/sectarian communities. I think that's just imprudent in general (for a lack of better terms (e.g., stupid)), and in my opinion will ultimately continue to threaten the future of this country (but that's a discussion for another time).

    Thank you for sharing! I understand that in your experience, "that's not how humans fall in love and fight and work and communicate and sometimes tear their hair off in/on keeping their relationship lasting," but I think if two people are really compatible, than this won't be nearly as big of a problem (especially if they can communicate openly and honestly)! SO perhaps you should share this with your ex??

    Please continue to discuss, debate, and talk about this! I want this to become a resource as well as a community!

  3. I have to completely agree with that. I’ve had some friends that have used matchmaking services ..