Let’s say you are really into underwater basket weaving, Italian renaissance art, and roller skating. And you’re perusing JDate profiles and see someone who is also really interested in basket weaving (sometimes underwater, sometimes not), Italian renaissance art, and roller skating. Could it be? Have you finally located your soul mate?
After all this time, have you found the one person destined to fulfill all of your hopes and dreams? Probably not. Might you have more to talk about on the first date with this person than someone who has no common interests? Yes, probably. But having several common interests with someone does not guarantee that you will get along! In fact, it guarantees, well, nothing more than you both like the same things.
It’s easy especially if you have unique or specific interests to mistake the excitement of enjoying the same things for long-term compatibility and commitment. Or, if you really like someone, it’s easy to be amazed at how coincidental it is that you BOTH LIKE TV and DOGS! What are the odds?
But in my experience, general activities and interests are somewhat shallow. What you like to do, in my opinion, says only so much about you. How you like to spend your time, your tolerance for trying new things, and your willingness to do what your partner wants to do – these are all more indicative of relational compatibility. For example, you might like going to the ballet, and a new guy you are dating might really like going to basketball games. This distinction in and of itself isn’t important. But does he listen when you talk about your favorite ballet, or is he checking the score on his phone? Is she willing to go with you to the Knicks game and at least pretend to pay attention? These kinds of questions are much more important to ask when assessing compatibility. The fact that you both have a brother or you both like classic music means little more than both having brown hair.
Although common interests might not be a predictor of long-term relationship success, JDate knows what they are doing. Profiles include interests for a good reason, even if the reason is not to instantly match up destined partners. See someone with a the same hobby as you? Awesome – send a mention and reference the activity! Both like mini golf? Sounds like you have an easy first date suggestion. Does a cute guy say he is into krav maga and you don’t know what it is? There’s an instant excuse to send a message – ask him! Oh, and this goes without saying, but don’t pretend to know all about something that you don’t unless you are currently on a sitcom.
So remember – common interests are great and provide a useful way to initiate contact with someone. But they don’t mean anything more than what they are.