Match & Memories —Understanding Human Compatibility
A short piece on the underlying pattern behind all human relationships.
Since our rather lonely high school years, we, the team behind Character, have been obsessed with understanding human relationships. After talking to countless psychologists, academics, and other experts, we came to the conclusion, that it boils down to two essential factors: match and memories.
I am sure you have met people with whom you almost instantly got along. Some call it vibing, others speak of matching energies or vibration and yet other people refer to it as good chemistry. Psychologically speaking this happens when we build up trust. Fundamentally, there are two ways to get trust: either you think in similar ways so that you know you will be understood and your needs respected. Or you learn each other’s character over time through experiences and that is how you know the other person understands and respects your needs and perspectives. This is how we came up with the two factors: Match and Memories. They are the two ways we build trust and hence relationships.
I’ll first dive into both components and then talk about the way they interact.
To understand what a match is — let alone a good one — we need to start with the individual. People are different in e.g. the way they perceive the world and make decisions. Another lens through which to look at individuality is their needs. What emotional, physical, or spiritual needs does someone have? How do they perceive the world through their five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)? These factors end up determining everyday behaviors and preferences. We have come up with an extensive list of factors that help to consciously understand who we are:
🎯 Ambitions & Goals
🌍 Values & Worldviews
🎶 Music & Arts
🙏 Spirituality & Religion
👪 Life Stage & Expectations
💐 Appreciation & criticism
Memories describe all shared experiences. All the highs and lows that were experienced together. A London-based Professor I asked about the nature of relationships summarized it as such: Relationships build up as people take turns to reveal increasingly intimate information about themselves. Essentially, we send hostages (intimate information) over to the other person — to see how they treat them. Do they judge me? Do they talk with others about it? Use that knowledge against me?
This is also why drugs like alcohol can boost relationships. They lead people to drop cautions and instantly jump to much more intimate information than would be customary.
Memories can be anything that was done with or in relation to that person. One interesting factor here is intensity. So, sitting next to someone in school for a month may not be as helpful to build a relationship as a few intense occasions like traveling or working together in a high-risk environment. That is why we named this part of the equation Memories and not “time spent”. After all, whether we remember something does also depend on the intensity and novelty of a moment. I have spent the 2 hours per day for 8 years in school busses — yet there are single weekends that I have more memories of.
Another interesting process to keep in mind is aging. As we age, we tend to become more rigid in who we are. Hence the same event may impact who we are less — and hence contributes less to bonding. Take for example the first kiss or the first time being at the ocean.
Memories are the part that keeps childhood friendships alive. Early in our lives, we spend a lot of time with these people — and everything has a novelty bonus. Thus, even if we don’t really align on values, humor, life goals, etc. we are connected because we got to know that specific person so well. Not because they share much with us, but because we had enough time and situations to learn about them despite them being totally different. The shared history then allows for conversations and jokes — even when interests and humor are actually quite different.
Interaction of Match & Memories
It is vital to consider both these attributes because they enhance each other. One component alone won’t make a great relationship. Just a good match without memories is great but hardly qualifies as friendship. Only having lots of memories, but no match will always lead to problems, especially the risk that people develop into different paths which eventually can lead to distancing. Growing apart is then a consequence of different values, needs, goals.
We increase the chances for a good Match with our algorithm. We also think that people who are a great match have an easy time making great memories. A walk with deep conversations may be enough!
Additionally, we increase the likelihood that the Memories part is good by suggesting to go through our Card Game offline. More features focussed on memories will follow!
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