Can Sameness Increase Relationship Longevity?

People who share the same perspectives, attitudes, and activities tend to develop close relationships. The adage, “Birds of a feather flock together,” has merit. People are attracted to other people who share their interests.

The need to avoid cognitive dissonance may explain why people who share similar interests tend to be attracted to one another. Dissonance occurs when people hold two opposing ideas or beliefs. This real or perceived difference causes anxiety. People seek to reduce this anxiety by reconciling the difference between these two perspectives.

The movie Marty, filmed in 1955, illustrates this point. Marty Pillentti, played by Ernest Borgnine, is a butcher who perceives himself as ugly and without hope of finding a woman to love. Against his own better judgment, Marty decides to go to the Stardust Ballroom with his friends, even though he is convinced that the night will end disastrously. At the Stardust Ballroom, Marty sees Clara, played by Betsy Blair, weeping silently. Clara, a plain-looking school teacher, was cast off by her blind date for a prettier woman. Marty comforts her, and they spend the rest of the night exchanging life stories. Marty and Clara discover that they have much in common and share an enchanting evening in each other’s company.

Excerpted from Psychology Today

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