Compatibility is the measure of a relationship. It is either there or it isn’t. Relationships work or they fail, depending on compatibility scores or the intensity of compatibility.
What does compatibility mean?
Compatibility means an ability to live together happily. This is not a dictionary definition. It is the true definition of compatibility.
When people are compatible, because their values match, they are happy. When the values mismatch, there is no compatibility and relationships fail.
Now, please try and understand. Compatibility is important. It takes years to understand this sometimes. But, it is THE most important thing about human relationships. By the time we are done with the article, me writing and you reading, we will have attempted to break down compatibility into something we can understand.
Although most people understand compatibility to mean in romantic relationships, it goes beyond that. Compatibility applies to every relationship. Of course, it applies most fervently to romantic relationships, because frankly, we don’t get as close to anyone else as we do to our partner/s, but it applies pretty much to every other relationship. Compatibility applies to your relationship with your parents, with your friends and with your siblings too. if you are an entrepreneur, it applies to your relationship with your co-founder. It is that important.
If it is that important, we must make every effort to understand it. Let us start with looking at what my favorite website, dictionary says about it:
The natural ability to live or work together in harmony because of well-matched characteristics.
Now, I like the dictionary, but it always plays safe. It doesn’t like to get dirty with things-gives you the macro definition and wouldn’t get into the detail.
Anyhow, since dictionary wants us to figure out the details, let us try and understand what it means to start with.
Compatibility is the natural ability to live or work together in harmony. What’s harmony? Harmony is things falling in place in accord without being forced to. Discord is disharmony.
The key reasons for disharmony or incompatibility are largely a mismatch of values. These could be life values or lifestyle values. Two people are not compatible when they value different or contrary things.
What are the signs of compatibility? Here are a few.
1. Compatibility in time
Time is the most important thing about life. People who are highly compatible value time in a similar fashion. If one loves mornings, and the other hates mornings, there is discord. One would want to go to bed on time so that they can get up early to see the morning and the other would want to extend the night so they can enjoy the dark hours, which they really enjoy.
People who are compatible have their body clocks aligned. They value mornings or they value nights. If they don’t, it is extremely difficult to reach a conclusion since if they go to bed late, the one who craves mornings would not be able to get up on time to enjoy the mornings and start the day properly. If the night bird is forced to give up on the night, they would miss the time they value living the most. Bats are nocturnal. Lions wake up early.
This is a fundamental. If this doesn’t match, there would be discord and incompatibility. It will affect the relationship.
2. Compatibility in personal life goals
People who have similar life goals are compatible. Simple as that. What does that mean? This could mean multiple things like how important is personal life to them, how much they value personal life vis-à-vis professional life, thoughts on extending the family, and when to extend it.
Personal life is about family and two people who live together must have similar thoughts around what this means. You can’t quite impose these things. You can’t change them. There are fundamental things on which there needs to be harmony or alignment. This is another one of those.
3. Compatibility in professional life goals
This blog has mentioned over again that personal life and professional life are the two key areas of life. If one can fix these two areas in a way that they become sources of joy, then life becomes a fountain of happiness.
Two people who live together need to have professional life goals aligned or understood in a way that it suits both of them. Obviously, these discussions need to happen before the couple starts a married life together. These things are way too important to be left for discussion later.
Do both the partners intend to work forever? Does one want to work and not work at a certain life period? What are each other’s views regarding these questions and if they are aligned are a huge lesson in compatibility. If these views do not align, it could lead to chaos. Chaos is not a measure of compatibility.
Similarly, in countries where parents make the choice of careers for their kids, lot of lives are wasted. Children are forced to become engineers when they would rather be painters or the other way around. When the children are independent, they instead quit engineering and start figuring out how to become painters and many years are lost in the process. At the risk of frivolity, engineering and art here have been used for example. These could be any career choices. Unfortunately, we can’t quite choose compatible parents.
However, we can try and choose compatible partners.
4. Compatibility in values
What do you value? What does she/he value?
Freedom is a value. Do you value it?
Would you think that you want to be free and not report to anyone else? Do you see yourself as an employee or an employer?
Now, how does your partner look at freedom?
A lot of people start businesses together and succeed because couples in love are a great team in business. In a similar fashion, a lot of people don’t. They are happy being employees in large organizations. Most people work at jobs while a few people like to work for themselves, in whatever fashion they can.
Another important value is discipline.
How do you see discipline? How does your partner see discipline?
To loosely define discipline, it is a regimen of living life as per a certain routine which gets a lot of things done.
Now, either one has discipline or don’t. If your partner is highly disciplined, they would want to instill discipline in you, because they would believe that a disciplined life is a brilliant as it creates productivity and joy.
How would you like that?
If you value discipline too, you would appreciate it. You would also want to discipline them if they lack somewhere on this value. However, if you don’t care about discipline and like to live life as it comes, you would resent their trying to discipline you and there would be discord. Discord is a sign of, of course, incompatibility.
5. Together in idleness
Besides professional and personal lives, there are certain things that we want to do with our lives. You know, like what do you like to do with your free time? It is a fair question on any first date.
If you like to travel in your free time, and they like to sit and watch movies at home, that’s a red flag. It may not seem like a big deal when you are dating, but it’s a big thing over a life time.
Every time there is a holiday, your girlfriend turned wife would want to travel and you would want to watch the latest movie at home. Who would she travel with? Who would you watch the movies with?
It is not a happy place.
Now, these are the fundamental types of compatibility. We could add more, but then there is love.
If two people are in love with each other, they would go quite far to make the other person happy. They would change a lot of things about their life to make sure they make time so that their partner is happy.
For example, if you don’t like dancing and your partner does, you may join them on the dance floor because it makes them happy. If you don’t like playing chess, you may learn because it makes them happy.
Compatibility, then is what the dictionary says and what we started with – The natural ability to live or work together in harmony because of well-matched characteristics.
The word is harmony. It’s either there, or it isn’t.
Thank you for reading.
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I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.
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