Complementarity or Similarity?


In my earlier post, I mentioned that I loved The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because it touched my heart. I saw it with two of my friends – without providing too much details, let’s just say that I was the only one who was affected by the movie long after the credit title was displayed. I tend to be quiet after I see a movie that makes an emotional impact – such as The English Patient, Big Fish, Mar Adentro, or Atonement. I need time to savour and digest the moments again, and to remember the things that I love so much about the movie. That was what happened after I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – the other two loved the movie as well, but for what I perceived to be the wrong reasons. They didn’t appreciate the things that I noticed and were curious why I was so quiet after the movie.

That made me think … in a relationship, what would be an ideal setting between the two parties: complementarity or similarity? Of course, love needs to be there, before any other elements are discussed. What I mean by similarity is when the two parties in the relationship laugh at the same jokes, appreciate similar things, be silly together and not feel bad about acting like fools, and be serious on common matters. Complementarity, on the other hand, is when one party is quite different to the other: where one appreciates sensitivity, the other one prefers the straightforwardness of slapstick comedy; where one is outgoing, the other prefers to be quiet – for instance.

In the movie, the characters, Benjamin and Daisy had a period when they were so silly together – slapped paints on each other, laughed, and just acted like fools together. It looked so natural and felt so good. I don’t know if similar situations can occur in my personal circumstances – either I am too serious at the wrong moments, or that my childishness is not considered as me being playful, but me being totally silly.

I personally long for some sort of similarity – to be silly and serious on similar matters, to laugh at the same jokes, to cry and appreciate similar things in life without me having to explain my inner workings. It would be nice to speak the same ‘language’. However, that type of relationship has its drawbacks as well: what if both parties are so set in their ways, so that even though both parties are very similar, they are actually heading on a collision course? What if, because they see things similarly, they fail to notice things that are totally out of the box?

So back to the original question? What do you personally think will work better in a relationship? Complementarity or similarity?

Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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  1. Hey ko Arry,

    I personally think that complementary works best in a relationship, although of course, similarity won’t hurt. It is nice to have someone who has similar interest and outlook in life, but often it becomes some sort of ‘routine’ which lead to ‘repetition’, if you understand what I mean. Again, it is very nice to have a partner like that. But for me, I see that as a path leads to boredom. To me, relationship is not just about that. I think it is also nice to have someone who’s a bit different, who’s a little bit ‘crazy’, who has different way of looking at life; so that we can share and work on those things together.

    But I guess it depends on the person, right? Everyone is different. Things that might work for me, might be a disaster for everyone else. And besides, the fact that I still use the word ‘might’ indicates something…

    xx M

  2. You need both or at the least developing both as you grow mature into a relationship!! Can’t be one sided as there’s no such thing in real life!…. esp if you are already married for yearssss…… People change and relationship develops, so one needs to be able to accept changes…. sorry if its too philosophical…. =))))

  3. A friend said this (I translated into English, so that more readers can understand). Wise words – hehe.

    Anyway, complimentary or similarity. It depends on the matters. In the matters of principles, both need to be similar. If both have different personalities, it’s okay to be different. But instead of asking about complimentary or similarity, why don’t you ask about compatibility? That way, it doesn’t matter if you’re different or the same.

    So for instance, when you face a problem. A similar partner can understand how you feel whereas a complementary partner can make the situation a bit brighter.

    How ‘bout this. Being a complementary person means that you can fill in the other person’s gap. By then, it wouldn’t matter whether you are similar or not. Being similar means that you can enjoy the same things and have fun together.

    So again – it depends.

    Hahaha, I can’t answer that question. It really depends on when and where.

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