Our impressions of a person are highly dependent on the context in which we meet them. The context of dating is only a small region in the much larger landscape of life. How then can we know if the chemistry and comfort we experience with a person during a date will extend into all walks of life?
To know this, we need to understand what kind of contexts a person is likely to chase during the larger non-date part of their life. Most of us are unconsciously driven to chase situations that bring out our best selves or at least, make us feel the most comfortable. If two people differ a lot in the kind of contexts that bring out their best, then their unconscious choices will keep pushing them in different directions. Irrespective of how good our initial chemistry is, it will be hard to share a life together if we’re chasing opposite life-contexts in our lives.
While there are hundreds of ways in which a context can be classified, there are three aspects that are significantly more important than the others:
- The Risk Scale: On a scale of 0 to 10, what level of risk appeals to our best self? A person on the lower end of this scale might prefer easy and comfortable life-situations. A person on the other end of this scale might prefer being challenged and pushed out of their comfort zone frequently.
- The Uncertainty Scale: On a scale of 0 to 10, what level of uncertainty brings out our best? A person on the lower end of this scale might prefer highly stable and predictable situations, while a person on the opposite end might invite ambiguity and unpredictability into their life-contexts.
- The Novelty Scale: On a scale of 0 to 10, how much novelty do we need to feel optimally stimulated? A person on the lower end of this scale might prefer familiar and consistent situations. A person on the higher end might prefer situations that are new and unfamiliar.
A good way of knowing where we stand on the above RUN Scale is to think of all the life-situations in which we felt the strongest, happiest and most driven. More often than not, they’ll reveal a pattern that was present all along, waiting to be discovered. The closer someone is to where we stand on these scales, the easier it’ll be to build a life together without unhealthy conflict.
Psst: If you want a quiz that kinda evaluates the same attributes of a person, you can take the Fisher’s chemical type quiz here – She has her own theory of which chemical types are good matches, but I find that her predictions overlap almost completely with the novelty-uncertainty-risk scale.
Takeaway: Being similar to each other in the amount of novelty, uncertainty and risk we seek in life can greatly improve the ease with which we can build a life together.