J’s Soapbox: Look for Similarities, Not Differences

cheerleader A friend of mine recently entered the online dating world.  Aghast, she described the following scenario:

She’d been emailing with a guy, and he seemed nice enough – and then the subject of movies came up.  She’d had some favorite movies listed on her profile, and she told him a few more.  The guy said they could never be together!

“Only a moron would like Night of the Comet,” he said.  He listed his favorite movies, and they were a little too violent and extreme for her tastes, so, since they didn’t share their very favorite movies, he deemed them entirely incompatible!

There’s several things wrong with this picture, so I’ll attempt to address them, one by one:

When visualizing my movie tastes compared to those of most of my friends, I like to picture a Venn Diagram:  some movies are ones that I like and they don’t, some are ones that they like and I don’t, and then, in the middle, there’s a huge pool of movies that we both enjoy.

In the case of most of my guy friends, I find that our outliers tend to fall along fairly stereotypical gender lines.  To put it bluntly, the ones I like, and they don’t, tend to be chick flicks.

However, if I were to be totally honest with myself and list my all-time favorite movies – the ones I might watch when I’m sick with the flu, my comfort movies – a good portion of them would be those outliers, the chick flicks.

Does that mean I watch those movies the majority of the time?  No!  Most of them aren’t even recent – they’re movies I grew up on and love for nostalgic reasons.  Would I make a guy sit through them with me?  No!  I have really broad tastes, so chances are it would be easy to find something we’d both enjoy.

It is important, however, to remember my intended audience.  In making a profile, I would be looking to attract men.  I know I love Father of the Bride, and I know I love Tarantino movies.  I would probably list the Tarantino movies and leave out Father of the Bride, because chances are I’ll find more guys who like Tarantino, and I don’t need to watch my chick flicks with a guy.

Let’s say I chose to list Twister.  This is another one of my comfort movies, and it is admittedly just… awful.  But it’s a nostalgic favorite.  Do I think it’s high art?  No – but I love it just the same.  And if someone insulted my intelligence just for liking it, it would hurt my feelings, and I would want to punch them in the teeth.

Now, this guy that my friend was emailing with, maybe movies are incredibly important to him, and maybe Night of the Comet is his dealbreaker.  It happens.  But if he’s looking for fans of movies on one extreme end of the spectrum, good luck finding someone who matches up perfectly.

And if she listed the movie on her profile, why email her to begin with?  Seriously, if you email someone to tell them their taste sucks, that’s just trolling.

Moral(s) of the story: instead of nitpicking over your differences, try finding what you do have in common.  You don’t have to have everything in common in a good relationship, and make sure your dealbreakers aren’t causing you to miss out.  Conversely, when you’re making your profile, keep in mind your intended audience  (don’t lie, though).  And above all else: don’t insult.  It’s just rude.

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