The Top 3 Questions to Determine Relationship Compatibility

My solo trip to Ireland.
My solo trip to Ireland.

Yesterday on the esteemed Sarah Meets World blog, Sarah mentioned a really interesting tidbit she learned from a number cruncher at the online dating site OkCupid.

Apparently the data shows that if two people answer the following 3 questions the same way (doesn’t matter if they answer yes or no), they are 8 times more likely to be compatible. These magical questions are as follows:

  1. Would you ever leave it all behind and go live on a boat instead?
  2. Do you like horror movies?
  3. Have you ever traveled abroad alone?

This is fascinating for a few reasons. First, would you have predicted that those were the ultimate questions to determine compatibility? I sure wouldn’t have. Second, knowing this, why wouldn’t those be the first questions you ask anyone (in a dating situation)? If the results are that significant, why not get them out of the way right away?

For the record, here are my answers:

  1. No way. I don’t want to leave it all behind. I like “it” too much.
  2. No thank you. I would prefer to watch pretty much every other type of movie before watching a really scary horror movie.
  3. Yes, but I wouldn’t do it again. So I’m not sure where I fit on the compatibility scale of this question. Does it say more about me that I tried it, or is the key part that I wouldn’t do it again?

What are your answers?

14 thoughts on “The Top 3 Questions to Determine Relationship Compatibility”

  1. Wild! I’m noodling over whether I’m compatible with my current mate. I think I’m in the clear on at least counts 1 and 2.

    1 – Yes. Did it for a week last fall (with said mate, actually) and would do it again in a heartbeat. Not sure what I’d do with my kids, though… dinghy?

    2 – Nope. I’m way past (in years, maybe decades) the thrill of a scare.

    3 – I think so. I traveled to Johannesburg with co-workers, but returned home by myself. Does that count? I had a long layover at Heathrow on the way…

  2. The fact that those questions predict compatibility is fascinating to me. I suspect that it is not so much the questions themselves but some of the underlying traits they expose. I’m reminded of the Meyers-Briggs test, that determines “type” by asking some narrower questions about personality traits and extrapolating.

    Reducing the question to their basic level could yield something like:
    1. Are you more of a free spirit, or are you more pragmatic?
    2. Do you enjoy unpredictable experiences?
    3. How independent are you?
    I’m sure the questions could probably be better refined than I did there, but that’s what occurred off the top of my head. And, to me, those question do seem to be logical in predicting compatibility.

    My answers would be:
    1. No. I’ve worked hard to build the life I have, and therefore have no desire to abandon it.
    2. I hate horror movies. Last time I saw one was almost a decade ago with an ex; if I only knew then it meant the relationship was destined to fail!
    3. I have, but the most enjoyable part of the trip was the part where I met up with my sister. I probably would do it again if the alternative was not taking a travel opportunity, but my preference would be to experience a new place with a companion.

  3. 1. No. a week, a month even, sure. To live? No.
    2. No…yucky
    3. Hmmmm…I’ve been thinking on this one lately. I’m flying to Italy to visit some family in October. I’m flying alone, which I’ve done several times and do not mind at all. I’ve been all over Europe, so the newness or the difference of places does not scare me. I just started looking for a “travelers Italian” course to take, though language barriors have never stopped me from getting along. So I have been thinking, what’s stopping me from going off on my own for a day or two? Still pondering…

  4. 1. No. I’d go on a boat ride, but could never picture living on one. I like land and city life too much.
    2. No. Also, no to haunted houses.
    3. I’ve had the goal of a solo travel trip abroad on my list for quite some time, but haven’t taken it yet. I’m still on the fence as I think I’d prefer to go with a good friend/significant other and experience things together.

  5. I’m glad to see so many answers here! Very interesting to see how other people work.

    Kim: How do you think you’ll respond socially to traveling alone? (if you do it) It might be interesting for you to predict how you’ll act in those circumstances versus what actually happens.

    Kristin: Well done getting to the heart of those questions. The only one that might need a little more to it is the third one. I think the desire and willingness to travel alone goes beyond independence. I’m extremely independent, but I now know that I want to travel with at least one other person. I think maybe it’s independence plus an adventurous spirit plus self-reliance plus some level of extroversion. Most extroverts could walk into a bar in Australia and have 5 new friends by the time they leave. An introvert could attempt the same thing, but they’d probably just end up having a quiet drink at the bar.

    • Jamey, I was a flight attendant and am wonderful socially when traveling alone. I guess what I’m really wondering is, do I want to experience the beauty of Cinque Terre alone if the alternative is not go at all? Not all parties for various circumstances can go everywhere when I want to go. We shall see….once I’m there I’ll feel it out.

    • Interesting observation on the third question. I immediately leaped to independence because that is a large part of what has allowed me to travel abroad. But while you need to be highly independent to do solo international travel, it doesn’t follow that all highly independent people *would* travel alone.

      I concur with your observations on an adventuring spirit and self reliance, but view the extroversion piece a little differently. I am extremely introverted myself. Which means rather than making those five new friends, I’d also be sitting by myself with a drink in the Australian bar. But for me just being somewhere and taking in the scene that is swirling around is in itself a rich experience. I’d be enjoying the environs: tasting whatever local beverage I had, getting engrossed in the music playing, watching the social symphony of other people. I don’t feel pressure to make a bunch of new friends because that’s not who I am. It wasn’t always the case, but now that I’m in my 30s I’m at ease with my introversion.

      And those travel days that I’m feeling particularly lonely? Well, I just muster up some courage and strike up a conversation with the bartender, which almost inevitably becomes a conversation with another patron. (At least in my recent stateside travels.)

      In other words, I don’t think being an introvert necessarily precludes having an pleasant solo travel experience. Nevertheless, on the whole I usually find traveling with a companion more enjoyable. But if my choices were to tour Germany by myself or not at all? I’d have my bags packed faster than you can say Essen Spiel. 🙂

      • Kristin: Those are really great points about introversion and traveling alone. Personally, I really struggled with eating alone when I traveled in Ireland, and really just going anywhere crowded alone. However, there were significant chunks of the trip that were perfect for my introverted side, like when I was soaking in the scenery or just walking down a quiet street with my thoughts, or when I bundled up in a castle to write. I loved that I didn’t have to small chat or be “on” for anyone–that really appealed to me. I like your approach of talking to the bartender and inviting conversation in that way.

        • I think a large majority of people aren’t comfortable dining out alone; I’m in that small minority that doesn’t mind. I do generally abhor crowds though. Do you find they are easier for you if you are with someone you know?

          Ireland does seem like a prime location for a solo trip. So much countryside to enjoy! I haven’t had a chance to visit the UK yet, but it’s in my top five travel wish list. How long did you get to spend in Ireland?

          • Oh, I just don’t like crowds in general. 🙂 But, for example, when I was walking down the busy streets of Dublin, I was glad to have someone with me (that was the one day I hung out with someone).

            Ireland is really beautiful. I was there for about 5 days. I also took a trip to Wales a few years before that with a few friends, and I absolutely loved it there. I love old places. 🙂

  6. This is awesome. I’m totally late to the party here but I love this post and I love the comments! I, however, don’t think I’m that compatible with anyone here..
    1. Yes. And not because I don’t like, “it,” or because I want to “abandon,” my life. Just because it’s an adventure. I have actually had this experience (sort of. I’ve purchased a one-way ticket to a foreign country with no intentions of returning. I’ve actually done that twice. Obviously both times I did return but after extended periods of time). Both of these experiences have fundamentally changed who I was and how I viewed the world. I will never pass up an opportunity to “run away and never return,” so to speak. Home will always be there. You can always return to what you know and love. But say you don’t get on that boat, you’ll continue on with your life the way it was, not changing and not growing–that’s not to say you can’t grow or change in your current environment, but I think it would be a whole lot harder. Now obviously, people have restrictions that I don’t have e.g. Children and whatnot. So that is totally understandable.
    2. Absolutely not. I can’t even watch the previews for scary movies. I couldn’t even watch the preview for pirates of the Caribbean without closing my eyes. I’m the biggest. baby. ever.
    3. Yes. And would do very naughty things to be able to again asap. Traveling is tough. Being alone is tough. But traveling with people is just as hard, if not harder. When you are alone, you are free to do whatever you want whenever you want. You want to eat? Get some food. You want to sit the hell down? Pop a squat. You want to stand in a 4 hour line to see that one sculpture? Go for it. No one will stop you or make you feel guilty or get so angry at you they abandon you anyway to go so what they want. I traveled alone extensively very recently and there were so many times I was glad to be alone (and this is coming from an extrovert.. I’m about as social as they come. Think Labrador puppy in the shape of a young lady). I met up with people at various points throughout my trip, although I was alone for most of it. Whenever I was with people, I loved it but I was constantly reminded of my lack of freedom. “What do you want to do?”
    “Well, I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
    “You know it’d be super cool to see the statue of David. I’ve wanted to see that for years.”
    “You know, it’s like, not that cool, right?”
    “Umm, okay. I just think that’s what I want to do.”
    “Ugh. I can’t believe you want to go wait in line to see the stupid David. I want to go shopping. Let’s get gelato!”
    ..You see where this goes. Unless you’ve pre-planed everything or are with someone who genuinely doesn’t care what you see, there will always be compromise. And it might just be me, but I don’t want to have to chose between gelato with my buddy and going to see a cool work of art. Also, when traveling with people, you are way less likely to meet cool people. You’ll stick with what you know by default. I met some of the coolest people while traveling. (Yeah yeah, I’m extroverted. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard for me to branch out. It is! Sometimes I had to force myself to smile and say hi to people. Sometimes I just spent the day alone with my headphones in so no one would talk to me). Anyway, I’m probably insane. But hey, I’ve had some pretty amazing life experiences. People always ask me, “weren’t you scared? I could never do that.” Yes. I was terrified. I would ask myself what the hell I was thinking on a regular basis. And yes, you CAN do it and I personally think you should. And if you do, you’ll never be the same. 🙂

    • Nelsy: Thanks for sharing your answers! It’s interesting to see how everyone is different. While I don’t want to travel alone again, I can completely relate to that dialogue you shared in your comment–that’s exactly why I thought I’d enjoy traveling alone! 🙂 Plus, unlimited gelato.


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